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Tour de France may still take place but without fans

Spectacular: The Tour travels through countryside but discouraging fans in more populated areas will be hard PICTURE: BELGA PHOTO/DAVID STOCKMAN

THE Tour de France could go ahead this summer without spectators at the roadside, the French sports minister has suggested.

The proposal is one of a number of options under consideration as France, like much of Europe, comes to terms with the coronavirus pandemic. The road cycling calendar is currently on hold but there remains hope the Tour, the flagship three-week event scheduled to begin on June 27, could yet go ahead.

‘The Tour’s economic model is not based on ticket sales but on TV rights,’ said minister Roxana Maracineanu yesterday. ‘During this period of confinement, everybody is aware of the risks and responsible. People understand the benefits of staying home. It wouldn’t be too detrimental to follow the Tour on TV.’

Maracineanu later said now was not the time to make a decision, writing on Twitter: ‘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.’