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Tour de France organisers confirm August start for 2020 race

The Tour de France will take place from August 29th to September 20th, organisers announced on Wednesday, postponing the race originally slated to start on June 27th due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tour de France organisers confirm August start for 2020 race
Photo: AFP

The new dates, the latest ever for the Tour founded in 1903, follow French President Emmanuel Macron's extension on Monday of a ban on public gatherings until mid-July.

READ ALSO Macron extends lockdown in France as coronavirus deaths pass 15,000

While the news comes as a relief to professional cycling teams and fans, it moves the three-week race out of its traditional slot during the summer holidays where festive roadside crowds of around 12 million would be expected.

With the Tokyo Olympic Games and football's Euro 2020 showpiece both delayed by a year, the Tour is the last major event remaining on the summer sports calendar.

As a result of the date switch, the Spanish three-week cycling tour La Vuelta a Espana scheduled for August 14th to September 6th is also likely to be rearranged.

The event is owned by the Tour de France organisers and it appears that a clash of dates will not be permitted.

“Let's be clear on this, the Vuelta and the Tour will not be run concurrently,” Vuelta director Javier Guillen told Spanish media on Wednesday.

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SPORT

French rugby boss quits after corruption conviction

Bernard Laporte on Friday resigned his role as president of France's rugby union federation after being convicted of corruption, the sports minister said.

French rugby boss quits after corruption conviction

“I can confirm that Bernard Laporte has resigned,” Amelie Oudea-Castera told reporters after a meeting of the federation’s top officials at its headquarters in Marcoussis near Paris.

Laporte, 58, who as coach guided France to the World Cup semi-finals in 2003 and 2007, received a two-year suspended prison sentence in December.

A court found he had shown favouritism in awarding a shirt sponsorship contract for the national side to Mohed Altrad, the billionaire owner of Top 14 champions Montpellier.

The affair has clouded France’s preparations to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the sport’s global showpiece event, which kicks off on September 8th.

Laporte, a charismatic but sometimes abrasive figure who had been at the helm of French rugby since 2016, had already stepped down from his role as vice-chairman of the sport’s global governing body, World Rugby.

In addition to his suspended prison sentence he was banned in December from holding any rugby post for two years, but this is suspended pending an appeal.

Laporte had already stood down from his job pending Friday’s meeting.

His proposal to appoint Patrick Buisson as interim president was rejected after a vote by French clubs on Thursday.

On Tuesday Laporte was released without charge after being detained earlier in the day as part of an investigation into an unrelated alleged tax fraud.

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