Keeping cycling alive: Tour of Flanders goes virtual

Race or no race, the 104th edition of the Tour of Flanders cobblestone cycling classic will have a winner this weekend. To keep the festive event alive, organizer Flanders Classics will host a “lockdown edition” of the race on Sunday, with professional riders tackling the punishing Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs from the comfort of their houses, on home trainers. Belgium’s big hope will be Remco Evenepoel, one of the most promising cyclists of his generation.

Vuelta to stick to start date and route, says director

This year's Vuelta a Espana is still set to go ahead as planned with all 21 stages despite the coronavirus pandemic's devastating impact on Spain, the race's director said on Thursday. "As it stands today the Vuelta's dates stay as they are and we not considering a race of less than the scheduled 21 stages," Javier Guillen told sports daily AS. It had been rumoured that the Vuelta, one of cycling's three Grand Tours and is scheduled to start on August 14 in the Netherlands, could reduce the number of stages if the Tour de France is delayed, in order to make room for the postponed Giro d'Italia which as yet has no new start date.

Tour of Flanders rides on, in virtual reality

The Tour of Flanders, scheduled for Sunday but cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be replaced by a short virtual race, Belgian television Sporza announced on Thursday. The Flemish public television channel and the organisers of the classic, one of cycling's five one-day 'monuments', has recruited 13 riders to race on rollers by riders from the confinement of their own homes. The field is led by defending champion Alberto Bettiol, an Italian and several prominent Belgians including Remco Evenepoel, Greg Van Avermaet and Wout Van Aert.

Cycling shutdown extended, Tour de France dates remain

Cycling's shutdown was extended until June on Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning French one-week stage race the Criterium du Dauphine will be postponed, organisers announced. The Criterium was to have started in Clermont Ferrand on May 31, while the only remaining key Tour de France warm-up race not yet postponed is the Tour de Suisse. The Criterium is organised by Amoury Sports Organisation (ASO) who run the Tour de France.

Secrecy and suspense over Tour de France’s fate

Less than three months before the Tour de France's scheduled start, the possibility of cycling's greatest show taking place remains shrouded in doubt, while the organisers have thrown up a wall of silence. "There will be a huge hunger for sports when this is over," ASO chief Christian Prudhomme said in early March. Unless the lockdown continues well into the summer, it would be hard to imagine the Tour being cancelled.

Secrecy and suspense over Tour de France’s fate

Less than three months before the Tour de France's scheduled start, the possibility of cycling's greatest show taking place remains shrouded in doubt, while the organisers have thrown up a wall of silence. "There will be a huge hunger for sports when this is over," ASO chief Christian Prudhomme said in early March. Unless the lockdown continues well into the summer, it would be hard to imagine the Tour being cancelled.

New cycle: US riders face another year of training for Tokyo

The decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until next year because of the coronavirus pandemichas left American cyclists with an abundance of mixed feelings. ''As tough as the news is to hear when obviously the planning that goes into the four-year cycle of it all, and obviously now we're only a few months out and on the homestretch of that path, it does stink to hear,'' BMX rider and Olympic silver medalist Alise Willoughby said. Not just cyclists, of course, but for swimmers and gymnasts and a myriad other athletes for whom the Olympics is the once-every-four-year pinnacle of their sport.

New cycle: US riders face another year of training for Tokyo

The decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until next year because of the coronavirus pandemichas left American cyclists with an abundance of mixed feelings. “As tough as the news is to hear when obviously the planning that goes into the four-year cycle of it all, and obviously now we're only a few months out and on the homestretch of that path, it does stink to hear,” BMX rider and Olympic silver medalist Alise Willoughby said. Not just cyclists, of course, but for swimmers and gymnasts and a myriad other athletes for whom the Olympics is the once-every-four-year pinnacle of their sport.

Holding out: Tour de France yet to be postponed amid virus

Perhaps no other sports event puts so many fans in such close contact with athletes as the Tour de France, with swarms of people clogging city streets, winding roads and soaring mountain passes during cycling's three-week showpiece and getting within touching distance of the riders. For now, the start date remains June 27 - and there is a possibility that the race could be held without any fans lining the course. France's sports minister Roxana Mărăcineanu said the Tour can still exist in a time of social distancing.

In sports, coronavirus shows no respect for stars or youth

High-level sports was one of the first social activities shut down by the coronavirus pandemic and many athletes, who play in front of crowds and train with team-mates, have been among the high-profile victims. While only one sports personality, the 76-year-old former Real Madrid president, Lorenzo Sanz, has so far died, those infected spread across the age range and the sporting spectrum, with clusters in Italian football, the NBA and cycling. Valladolid in the Spanish Liga rejected test kits saying they should be used on those who need them.

Tour de France may go ahead without roadside spectators – sports minister

It is too soon to decide whether the Tour de France can go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, but if it does it may be without roadside spectators in order to minimise infection risk, the French sports minister said. Following the postponement of the Euro 2020 soccer Championship and the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Tour de France - which takes place in June and July - is one of the last major global sporting events that has not yet been cancelled or postponed.

French sports minister evokes Tour de France spectator ban

French sports minister Roxana Maracineanusays this year's Tour de France could be staged without spectators in a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The French government is in talks with Tour organisers about the future of the June 27-July 19 edition of world cycling's top event which draws more than 10 millions fans annually to the roads of France. The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and the Euro 2020 football championships has focused attention on the Tour which winds its way for thousands of miles through the towns and villages of France in a wide loop for three weeks ending on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Russian cyclists’ lawsuit against WADA dismissed

A Canadian court has dismissed a lawsuit against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) by three Russian cyclists who claimed damages after being banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics. WADA on Wednesday announced the ruling, which was made last month by the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario following motions heard last May in Toronto, saying the appeal period had expired. The trio also sued Canadian professor Richard McLaren, whose report unveiled a broad Russian doping scheme and manipulation of testing results.