According to the French newspaper Le Parisien “The famous cycling race cannot be run on the scheduled date due to the worsening health situation in Hauts-de-France”.
Scheduled for April 11, the race was planned to be run within a ‘bubble’ but over recent days the belief the race would have to be postponed until later in the year were growing stronger as the COVID epidemic was scene to be growing in the North of France to levels above the national average. This comes after the event was cancelled in 2020.
Despite plans put forward by race organisers ASO which included the santitary bubble, and the closure of high density crowd areas such as the Trouée d’Arenberg, on Tuesday the Ministries of Sports and Health expressed reluctance to devote resources to a bike race, even one as significant as Paris-Roubaix. While evidence of meaningful outdoor infection remains scant most authorities across Europe have opted to heavily restrict spectator presence and a featurr of Paris-Roubaix is the intense close proximity of fans to riders along the narrow course.
Previously the race had only been cancelled due to war and even then organisers still managed to run it during World War 2 in 1943 and 1944 durng German occupation.
Le Parisien reports that the orgnaisers are hoping to use the newly extended UCI season to find another race date possiblty in October. Normally the season would finish on 19 october but it the UCI has extended it to 31 October and that weekend offers a possiblility that a postponement won’t turn into a cancellation.
The delay means 2019 winner Phillipe Gilbert enjoys a few more months as champion.