The presentation of the 2021 Tour de France route has been postponed and downscaled, with the stage details now set to be unveiled on French television on Sunday evening during a special edition of the Stade 2 sports show.
The presentation had been scheduled for Thursday morning in the Palais des Congrès in central Paris as per tradition. However, France is struggling to fight a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with case numbers especially high in the capital.
President Emmanuel Macron is due to give a televised address on Wednesday evening amid reports that the French government is considering a month-long lockdown to slow the surge in cases. France recorded over 33,000 new cases on Tuesday and 523 deaths – the highest number of daily fatalities since April.
"Taking into account the current public health situation, that is continually pushing the Government to take new decisions in the fight against COVID-19, the organisers of the Tour de France have decided not to unveil the 2021 edition's route at the Palais des Congrès on Thursday, 29th October 2020," race organiser ASO announced.
"The Tour de France 2021 will instead be presented in detail as a Stade 2 (weekly sports programme) Special with Christian Prudhomme live on France Télévisions on Sunday 1st November. An international programme will also be available simultaneously on all of the official broadcasters' platforms around the world as well as on the Tour de France's official platforms."
Stade 2 is broadcast at 20:00 CET every Sunday. Cyclingnews will have full details of the route.
The 2020 Tour de France was rescheduled from July to September and managed to reach Paris despite growing number of cases across France and several positives amongst team staff. Race director Christian Prudhomme tested positive on the first rest day but returned to the race after a rapid recovery.
The 2021 Tour de France will start on June 26, a week earlier than usual given the postponed Olympic Games starting later in July.
The Grand Départ will be in Brittany, after the Copenhagen start was scrapped due to the Danish capital hosting European Championship football matches towards the end of June.
Four stages will take place in Brittany, and while they have yet to be confirmed, Le Télégramme reports a visit to the punchy Mur de Bretagne - where Dan Martin won in 2018 - on stage 2.
The Alps appear set to feature early, after the race crosses central France, while reports of a first visit to Mont Ventoux since 2016 are gathering pace. The Pyrenees are expected to host the final mountain stages before a time trial through the Bordeaux vineyards to Saint-Émilion.
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