Tour de France organizers announced Wednesday that the three-week cycling race would be pushed back roughly two months, from June 27-July 19 to Aug. 29-Sept. 20.
The postponement was inevitable after French President Emmanuel Macron announced the cancellation of all public events through mid-July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cycling’s calendar will need much more juggling to accommodate the other two grand tours and the world championships. The new Tour dates conflict with the Vuelta a España, scheduled for Aug. 14-Sept. 6. The Amaury Sports Organisation, which runs the Tour and the Vuelta, has made no announcement regarding the Vuelta’s schedule. ,
One complicating factor for the Vuelta and the Giro is that each race’s route goes through multiple countries that may impose or lift restrictions at different times. The Giro’s planned route begins in Hungary, and the postponement followed on the heels of the Hungarian government declaring a state of emergency. The Vuelta is set to begin in the Netherlands.
Cycling teams typically name different rosters for each of the three three-week stage races, and they’re used to a quick turnaround between the Vuelta and the world championships. But finding dates for all three races and the world championship before snow makes the Alps and Pyrenees impassible will be a challenge.
If Serena Williams is to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title at the French Open, she may have to go through her older sister in the fourth round.
Williams, the sixth seed, could play Venus Williams in the round of 16 at Roland Garros, which begins Sunday.
Serena opens against countrywoman Kristie Ahn, whom she beat in the first round at the U.S. Open. Serena could then get her U.S. Open quarterfinal opponent, fellow mom Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, in the second round.
If Venus is to reach the fourth round, she must potentially get past U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the second round. Azarenka beat Serena in the U.S. Open semifinals, ending the American’s latest bid to tie Margaret Court‘s major titles record.
Venus lost in the French Open first round the last two years.
The French Open top seed is 2018 champion Simona Halep, who could play 2019 semifinalist Amanda Anisimova in the third round.
Coco Gauff, the rising 16-year-old American, gets 2019 semifinalist Jo Konta of Great Britain in the first round in the same quarter of the draw as Halep.
The field lacks defending champion Ash Barty of Australia, not traveling due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also out: U.S. Open winner Naomi Osaka, citing a sore hamstring and tight turnaround from prevailing in New York two weeks ago.
Rafael Nadal was put into the same half of the French Open draw as fellow 2018 and 2019 finalist Dominic Thiem of Austria, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic catching a break.
Nadal, trying to tie Roger Federer‘s male record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, could play sixth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals before a potential clash with Thiem, who just won the U.S. Open.
Djokovic, who is undefeated in 2020 save being defaulted out of the U.S. Open, could play No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy in the quarterfinals before a possible semifinal with Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Medvedev is the fourth seed but is 0-3 at the French Open. Another possible Djokovic semifinal opponent is fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, who reached the fourth round last year.
The most anticipated first-round matchup is between three-time major champion Andy Murray and 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka. In Murray’s most recent French Open match, he lost in five sets to Wawrinka in the 2017 semifinals.