Tour de France route unveiling postponed because of coronavirus

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The presentation of the 2021 Tour de France route, scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed because of the coronavirus, organisers announced on Tuesday.

The route will instead be unveiled on Sunday on French television, Tour organisers ASO said.

ASO said it had decided to abandon its plan for the usual spectacle, this time at the Palais des Congres convention centre in Paris, "in view of the health situation that calls for new decisions from the government in order to reinforce the fight against covid-19".

Coronavirus has already disrupted both this year's and next year's Tour de France.

The start of this year's race was put back more than two months and it only ended on September 20.

Next year's Tour was scheduled to open with three stages in Denmark. After the postponement of football's European Championship, in which Copenhagen is hosting four matches, and the Tokyo Olympics until 2021, the Danish capital decided in July that it could no longer handle the Grand Depart.

The late finish to this year's Tour left ASO scrambling to arrange a new route for the early part of the 2021 Tour. They only completed their course reconnaissance in mid-October.

So far, the organisers have only made official the Grand Depart on June 26 next year in Brest. They have said the Tour will remain in Brittany for four days.

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