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Coronavirus latest: Tour de France in doubt as UCI extends suspension of races

:Headline: Coronavirus latest: Tour de France in doubt as UCI extends suspension of races:
The Tour is due to start on June 27.

Doubts continue to grow around this year's Tour de France after the UCI announced it was extending the suspension of all cycling races until June 1, a little over three weeks before the event is due to begin in Nice on June 27.

The French government indicated last week it was looking at ways cycling's biggest race might be able to take place 'behind closed doors' but the feasibility of staging such an event in any form is increasingly questionable as the shut down of professional cycling continues.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme told French newspaper L'Equipe his organisation would adapt as necessary to the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

"I would be lying if I said that we were not working on another hypothesis," he said of the race starting on time.

"The riders must be able to resume training at the end of April for the Tour de France to remain on these dates. But the most important thing by far is the fight against the pandemic.

"We will adapt according to the health situation in the country."

Following talks with representatives of race organisers, teams and riders, the UCI said on Wednesday it was extending its shutdown of racing and working on a revised calendar which would give priority to the three Grand Tours – the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana – as well as the Monuments, the five biggest one-day races.

"Given the severity of the health situation throughout the world, the UCI and its stakeholders unanimously decided to prolong the suspension of cycling competitions until 1 June 2020, and until further notice," a statement said.

“The riders must be able to resume training at the end of April for the Tour de France to remain on these dates. But the most important thing by far is the fight against the pandemic”
- Christian Prudhomme

"The UCI also decided that this extension would apply to all cycling disciplines and all categories of riders.

"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...

"Confirming the principle of a prolongation of the men's and women's road season, announced on 18 March, the UCI does not exclude the possibility of pushing back the end of the season depending on the date racing resumes, when this is known."

The Giro d'Italia, which had been due to begin on May 9 in Budapest, was among the first races to be postponed, while the status of the Vuelta, scheduled to start in Utrecht on August 14, remains in the balance.

Of the five Monuments, four – Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege – have already been postponed while the fifth, the Giro di Lombardia, remains scheduled for October 10 as it stands.

The UCI said it has so far received more than 450 requests for the postponement or cancellation of events, the majority of them relating to road cycling.

The men's WorldTour has effectively been shut down since Paris-Nice ended one day early on March 14, while the women's WorldTour has been on hiatus since the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race at the start of February, with the last major event to be staged the Ladies Samyn on March 3.

Following the UCI's statement, Tour organisers ASO announced the postponement of the Criterium du Dauphine, a traditional warm-up race for the Tour, which had been scheduled to take place from May 31 to June 7.

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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool29271166214582
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
4Chelsea29146951391248
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
9Arsenal2891364036440
10Burnley29116123440-639
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
12Everton29107123746-937
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
14Southampton29104153552-1734
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
17Watford2969142744-1727
18Bournemouth2976162947-1827
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721
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