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Too early to make decision on Tour de France: French minister

Thursday - March 26, 2020 9:38 pm , Category : SPORTS
Paris, March 26 (IANS) French Sports Minister Raxana Maracineanu said on Thursday it is too early to decide whether this year's Tour de France can take place as scheduled in June and July amid the coronavirus outbreak, but also admitted that a race without roadside spectators is an option.

Following the postponements of the football European Championships and the Tokyo Olympic Games, the world's best-known cycling championship remained one of the few big international sports events this summer not having been postponed or cancelled, Xinhua news agency reports.

"The Tour is a sports monument. It is too soon to decide. There is a time for everything. For now, we have a more urgent battle to fight. Let us focus on this mountain in front of us and then consider what's next," Maracineanu wrote on Twitter.

French media Bleu Radio Station reported on Wednesday that Maracineanu said that one of the options would be to organise a Tour without roadside spectators.

"The Tour's economic model is not based on ticket sales but on TV rights," the minister said. "People understand the benefits of staying home and watching the event on TV rather than live. It would not be too detrimental to follow the Tour on TV."

The Tour has never been cancelled in peacetime since its inaugural edition in 1903. This year's race is scheduled to start outside Nice on June 27 and finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris on July 19.

--IANS rkm/bbh