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Rescheduled Tokyo Olympics clash with 2021 Tour de France

Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet is all smiles after taking the gold medal in the men’s road race at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place from July 23 to August 8, 2021, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Monday. 

The revised slot for the Games falls exactly one year after they had originally been scheduled, which means that the 2021 Tour de France would have to begin a week earlier than planned in order to avoid a clash with the Olympics.

The 2021 Tour is due to start in Copenhagen on Friday, July 2 and conclude in Paris on Sunday, July 25. With the men’s road race at the Tokyo Olympics now set to take place on July 24, it appears inevitable that La Grande Boucle will have to shift forward by a week, as it did for this season to accommodate the 2020 Olympics as initially scheduled.

It is already unclear whether the 2020 Tour will take place as planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Spring Classics and Giro d’Italia have been postponed and all racing is currently suspended, though the French minister for sport Roxana Maracineanu has suggested the event could proceed behind closed doors. 

RTBF reported this weekend that a decision on the 2020 Tour would be taken by May 15.

After last week confirming the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic, the IOC and local organising committee moved quickly to announce a new date for the Games.

“I want to thank the International Federations for their unanimous support and the Continental Associations of National Olympic Committees for the great partnership and their support in the consultation process over the last few days,” said IOC president Thomas Bach.

“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel. These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”

A spring date was among the hypotheses considered after the Tokyo Olympics were postponed last week, but the local organising committee expressed a preference for the Games to take place in summer as previously planned.

“A certain amount of time is required for the selection and qualification of athletes and for their training and preparation, and the consensus was that staging the rescheduled Games during the summer vacation in Japan would be preferable,” said Mori Yoshirō, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.

“In terms of transport, arranging volunteers and the provision of tickets for those in Japan and overseas, as well as allowing for the COVID-19 situation, we think that it would be better to reschedule the Games to one year later than planned, in the summer of 2021.”

The IOC has reiterated that “all athletes already qualified and quota places already assigned for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will remain unchanged.”

A new date has also been confirmed for the Paralympic Games, which will now take place from August 24 to September 5, 2021.