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Tour De France start postponed until late August due to COVID-19

The start of this year's Tour De France has been postponed until August 29 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The original start date of June 27 had already been under threat before French president Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that mass gatherings would be banned in the country until mid-July at the earliest.

Reports had circulated last week of a late July/early August race, with mayors of finish towns open to the proposal.

But Le Dauphiné Libéré reported on Tuesday evening that this year's Tour would run from August 29 to September 20.

The Grand Depart will still take place in Nice, with the finish remaining in Paris.

Earlier, the president of the French Cyclists Union (UNCP) Pascal Chanteur had called for clarity on cycling's calendar for the remainder of the year.

Chanteur told RMC Sport that he had asked Tour organisers ASO for a quick decision on a revised start date.

He added, "We are all, I'm talking about cycling as a sport in general, in a very delicate economic situation" before adding that they needed Le Tour as a beacon.

Chanteur said riders need an official start date so they can prepare.

The Giro D'Italia has already been postponed, as has the one-week Critérium du Dauphiné which is often used as a barometer for form in Le Tour.

"A Tour de France of three weeks is not a click of the fingers", Chanteur said.

"The more weeks you spend not on a bike, the longer it will take to regain top physical condition.

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