road cycling

Tour de France sets new dates of Aug. 29 to Sept. 20; rest of cycling calendar remains unsettled

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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. ,

The Tour’s new dates also run into the world championships, set for Sept. 20-27 in Switzerland.

The Giro d’Italia will not start as scheduled May 9. No new date has been announced.

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.

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2018 World Road Cycling Championships broadcast schedule

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Peter Sagan‘s chances for a record-breaking fourth gold medal are bleak, while the Dutch women are again set to dominate the world road cycling championships, live daily on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold this week.

Sagan, the Slovakian with a record-tying six Tour de France sprint titles, last year became the first man to win three straight world titles in the road race. But that merely matched the career golds record with four others, including the legendary Belgian Eddy Merckx.

Sagan is not favored to stand alone after Sunday’s event, the last on this week’s program in Innsbruck, Austria. The 160-mile course is a climber’s paradise. Though Sagan is strong on hills for a sprinter, this layout is expected to be too tall of a task.

Plus, Sagan has not won a Grand Tour stage since crashing on stage 17 of the Tour de France. He didn’t win a single stage of the recent Vuelta a España, his first Grand Tour without a victory since the 2015 Tour de France.

The world champs road race contenders include Grand Tour overall winners Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde.

The elite individual events begin with the time trials Tuesday (women) and Wednesday (men).

Dutch stars Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen went one-two in the women’s time trial last year, with van Vleuten coming back from her horrific Rio Olympic crash for her first rainbow jersey. A Dutch medal sweep is possible, though the U.S. boasts 2016 World champion Amber Neben (now 43 years old).

Another Dutch rider, Tom Dumoulin, eyes a repeat title in the men’s time trial in the absence of Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

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MORE: Simon Yates reflects on first Grand Tour title at Vuelta

Day Time (ET) Event
Tuesday 4-6:40 a.m. Men’s Junior Time Trial
8:30-10:50 a.m. Women’s Elite Time Trial
Wednesday 8-11:10 a.m. Men’s Elite Time Trial
Thursday 3-5:15 a.m. Women’s Junior Road Race
8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Men’s Junior Road Race
Friday 6-10:50 a.m. Men’s U23 Road Race
Saturday 6-10:45 a.m. Women’s Elite Road Race
Sunday 3:30-10:50 a.m. Men’s Elite Road Race

 

WATCH LIVE: Bookwalter, Phinney looks for medal in cycling’s road race

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There are Olympic medals on the line as Team USA’s Brent Bookwalter and Taylor Phinney look to shine in Saturday’s men’s road race.

WATCH LIVE: Men’s Road Race, Part One — 8:30 a.m. EDT

Phinney, 26, comes from Olympic royalty. His father Davis won a 1984 bronze medal in cycling, while his mother has a gold in road bicycle racing and also competed in speed skating.

WATCH LIVE: Men’s Road Race, Part Two — Noon p.m. EDT

Bookwalter, 32, hails from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and finished third in this year’s Tour of California.

Alejandro Valverde of Spain and Chris Froome of Great Britain are among the favorites for Saturday’s race.