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Paris-Roubaix postponed to October due to COVID-19 pandemic in France

ROUBAIX, FRANCE - APRIL 08: Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Team Bora - Hansgrohe / Silvan Dillier of Switzerland and Team AG2R La Mondiale / during the 116th Paris to Roubaix 2018 a 257km race from Compiegne to Roubaix on April 8, 2018 in Roubaix, France. (Photo Pool bp by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
2018 Paris-Roubaix saw Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) outdistance Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale) for the win (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

This year’s men’s Paris-Roubaix and the first edition of the Paris-Roubaix Women will not be held on Sunday, April 10, due to the severity of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in northern France.

The race has not been cancelled from the 2021 race calendar, with the UCI agreeing to reschedule the women’s race for Saturday, October 2, and the men’s race on Sunday, October 3. That will create a unique and historic weekend of cobbled racing in early October.

The new dates fall a week after the UCI Road Race World Championships in Belgium. They clash with the men’s Giro dell’Emilia but the two races are likely to attract very different kinds of riders, with the Italian races' hilltop finishes making it more suited to climbers.  

The UCI said that French authorities prohibited the holding of the 2021 edition of Paris-Roubaix on the dates scheduled due to the current health situation.

Other races have gone ahead in Belgium and across Europe, with the Tour of Flanders confirmed for Sunday. However, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new three-week lockdown across the country on Wednesday evening after daily infections doubled to 40,000 cases since February, and with more than 5,000 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

The new dates were approved by the sports stakeholders (organisers, teams and riders) following a consultation process.

"For the UCI and the cycling community, it was very important that both races could take place in 2021, and I am delighted that new dates suitable for all parties have been found," UCI president David Lappartient said.

"Paris-Roubaix is one of the Monuments of the UCI WorldTour calendar, while Paris-Roubaix Women will be held for the first time this year as part of the UCI Women's WorldTour.

"It was therefore essential to find, together with all parties concerned, an appropriate postponement date, in keeping with the status of this mythical event so much appreciated by riders and fans, and whose female riders are looking forward to competing in the inaugural women's edition."

Last year's Paris-Roubaix was postponed from April because of the first COVID-19 lockdown, rescheduled for late October but then cancelled due to a second wave of the virus in northern France.

Paris-Roubaix organiser ASO had tried to convince local and national authorities to allow the race to go on under strict conditions and without crowds, but northern France, and especially the Hauts-de-France region near Belgium where the race is held, are again among the worst hit areas of France’s third wave of infection.