2020 Tour de France to start in June as Tokyo Olympics sparks a calendar squeeze

The Tokyo Olympics have created a calendar squeeze for the 2020 cycling season, with the Tour de France scheduled to be held a week earlier than usual - between June 27 and July 19, with other major races in June such as the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse also starting earlier than usual.

The Tokyo Olympics begin just six days after the Tour de France ends, with the men's road race on Saturday, July 25, meaning riders will have little time to recover, travel and adapt to the eight-hour time difference. The women's Olympic road race is scheduled for Sunday, July 26, with the time trial events on Wednesday, July 29.

Many of the male contenders for the Mount Fuji hilly road race face a tough decision about their 2020 racing plans, with some likely to skip all or part of the Tour de France in favour of a shot at Olympic gold.

Cyclingnews understands that the UCI was keen to move most of the first half of the 2020 WorldTour calendar forward to facilitate the presence of the Olympic Games but the Giro d'Italia has hung on to its usual May date (9-31) and so have other races before the opening Grand Tour of the season.

As a result, the Critérium du Dauphiné will overlap one day with the Giro d'Italia starting on Sunday, May 31 and ending on June 7. The Tour de Suisse starts on Saturday, June 6 and ends June 14. The Tour of California will again overlap with the Giro d'Italia and is scheduled for May 10-16.

The UCI revealed the full Men's UCI WorldTour and UCI Women's WorldTour calendars after the recent Management Committee and Professional Cycling Council meeting in Switzerland.

The men's WorldTour will include 37 races but not the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey after the stage race failed to secure enough WorldTour teams in two recent editions. The 2020 Men's WorldTour kicks-off with the Tour Down Under between January 21-26.

There are 20 WorldTeams due to compete in the 2020 Men's WorldTour after the UCI changed the retroactive qualification rules to avoid the risk of a possible legal challenge from a current team at risk of relegation.

The Tokyo Olympics means the men's Tour de Pologne will take place in July (5-11) instead of August, during the Tour de France, with the Prudential RideLondon Surrey Classic moving back to Sunday, August 16, the same date as the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg.

There is no mention of the much-discussed UCI Classics Series in the UCI press release about the 2020 WorldTour races. As part of reforms announced during the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck, the 20-25 race UCI Classics Series was expected to a partially separate series with the best one-day riders competing in all the weekend races and targeting overall victory in the series.

In Innsbruck, UCI President David Lappartient was cautious about making proclamations about the future and final format for the UCI Classics Series because he had still to fully convince the major race organisers and the leading teams to work together on the plans. As part of the wider WorldTour reforms agreement, all the stakeholders have to agree for the project to move forward. If one refuses, the UCI Classics Series will not happen.

The UCI confirmed that final registration of races on the 2020 UCI WorldTour calendar guarantees their presence in the series for the next three years. The UCI also revealed that UCI WorldTeams will be able to register a development squad as a Continental team. They will not be allowed to ride the same races but can "share a certain number of elements (for example team name and jersey design) and will be able to exchange riders during the season according to provisions that are to be defined."

Stagiaire riders will also be paid a minimum allowance when they ride for major teams after August 1.

As is already the case for women's teams, all members of men's WorldTeams (riders and staff members) will have to sign a declaration of acknowledgement of the ethical principles concerning the treatment of team members.

The full 2020 UCI International Road Calendar, including men's and women's events in the UCI ProSeries (which replaces the HC race category), Class 1 and Class 2, will be published in September after the UCI Management Committee meeting taking place in Yorkshire (Great Britain) during the UCI Road World Championships.

2020 Men's UCI WorldTour calendar:

January 21-26: Santos Tour Down Under (Australia)
February 2: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (Australia)
February 23-29: UAE Tour (United Arab Emirates)
February 29: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite (Belgium)
March 7: Strade Bianche (Italy)
March 8-15: Paris-Nice (France)
March 11-17: Tirreno-Adriatico (Italy)
March 21: Milano-Sanremo (Italy)
March 23-29: Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (Spain)
March 25: AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne (Belgium)
March 27: E3 BinckBank Classic (Belgium)
March 29: Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (Belgium)
April 1: Dwars door Vlaanderen - A travers la Flandre (Belgium)
April 5: Ronde van Vlaanderen - Tour des Flandres (Belgium)
April 6-11: Itzulia Basque Country (Spain)
April 12: Paris-Roubaix (France)
April 19: Amstel Gold Race (the Netherlands)
April 22: La Flèche Wallonne (Belgium)
April 26: Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Belgium)
April 28 - May 3: Tour de Romandie (Switzerland)
May 1: Eschborn-Frankfurt (Germany)
May 9-31: Giro d'Italia (Italy)
May 10-16: Amgen Tour of California (United States)
May 31-June 7: Critérium du Dauphiné (France)
June 6-14: Tour de Suisse (Switzerland)
June 25-July 19: Tour de France (France)
July 5-11: Tour de Pologne (Poland)
July 25: Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa (Spain)
August 14 - September 6: La Vuelta Ciclista a España (Spain)
August 16: EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg (Germany)
August 16: Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic (Great Britain)
August 23: Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France (France)
August 31 – September 6: BinckBank Tour
September 11: Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (Canada)
September 13: Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (Canada)
October 10: Il Lombardia (Italy)
October 15-20: Gree - Tour of Guangxi (China)

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