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Critérium du Dauphiné postponed amid coronavirus pandemic

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) wins 2019 Criterium du Dauphine
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) wins 2019 Criterium du Dauphine (Image credit: Getty Images)

Organisers of the Critérium du Dauphiné, ASO, announced Wednesday that the race has been postponed amid health precautions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The announcement arrived just moments after the UCI made the decision to extend the suspension of all road racing until June 1 as it tries to salvage a race calendar for the second half of the season.

"As part of the fight against the spread of Covid-19, the Union Cycliste Internationale, along with all the involved parties, have taken the decision to prolong the suspension of cycling competitions until 1 June 2020, and until further notice," read the press statement from ASO.

The Critérium du Dauphiné was scheduled to take place from May 31 to June 7, however, ASO said that it agreed with the UCI's decision to postpone races through May due to the coronavirus.

"The organisers of the Critérium du Dauphiné, in agreement with the UCI, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and other involved parties, have decided to begin working to reschedule the race, originally scheduled to start from Clermont-Ferrand on the 31st May and run through to the 7th June. 

"The organisers would like to thank the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and all of the race partners for their understanding and their support as they work towards finding a new date for one of the most greatest races in the international cycling calendar."

The Critérium du Dauphiné has historically been considered a build-up to the Tour de France, which is scheduled to take place from June 27 to July 19. However, ASO has reportedly set a deadline of May 15 for a final decision on whether the French Grand Tour will go ahead this summer as planned or if it will also be postponed. 

The French Minister of Youth and Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, told the French press last week that this year's Tour de France could potentially take place behind closed doors, without any fans in attendance.

The UCI had initially announced the suspension of all racing until the end of April, and while it has extended that date to June 1, it is providing on its website continuous updates of event cancellations and postponements due to the novel coronavirus.

At the same time the sport governing body is working with race organisers to determine event date changes for those events that are postponed and trying to put together a potential late-season calendar.

The UCI has stated that it could push back the end of the season to try and prolong the racing season well into the fall. This could allow organisers of postponed events to host their races at a later date in the season. In terms of re-scheduling, the UCI has said that it will give priority to the three Grand Tours and the Monuments.

"In its role of governing body of our sport, the UCI is working on a framework for the future UCI International Road Calendar, based on its exchanges with the stakeholders and giving priority to the three Grands Tours and cycling’s Monuments. The result of this internal work will be communicated when the conditions are right," read the UCI press release.