Staging Tour de France as planned would be ‘crime against humanity’, says former minister

Peter Sagan tour de france 2018

Allowing the Tour de France to go ahead as scheduled despite the COVID-19 pandemic would be “madness” and a “crime against humanity,” former French sports minister David Douillet said.

The outbreak has decimated the global sporting calendar and the Tour de France — which takes place in June and July — is one of the last major global sporting events that hasn’t been canceled or postponed.

French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said on Twitter last month that it was too soon to decide if the Tour should be canceled, but that if the race did go ahead it might be held without roadside spectators to minimize the risk of infection.

Douillet, a two-time Olympic judo champion who served as sports minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy from 2011 to 2012, said the risks involved in staging the Tour outweighed the financial implications of postponing or canceling it.

“God knows I am a fan of the Tour de France, I never miss a stage every summer,” he told France TV.

“If we have enough means to ensure that all the players in the Tour and the public can be tested and are all negative, then why not, but that’s not very likely, so it can’t happen. There is no vaccine, nothing, and people are dying.”

Douillet compared the Tour not being postponed to France holding mayoral elections last month despite the government imposing stringent restrictions on public life to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“I was furious to see that the local elections went ahead,” he added. “I’m not scared of saying that it’s a crime against humanity. For me, organizing the Tour in these conditions is at the same level. It’s madness.”

This year’s Tour is scheduled to start on June 27 in Nice and is due to finish in Paris on July 19.


  1. Most other cycling race organizers do understand it already and cancel their race way ahead. (See Tour de Suisse, Tour of Utah, etc etc etc)

    Only the people from ASO still don’t get it, they don’t give a sh*t about the riders or teams or the feeling of those who have to stay at home due to this covid-19 crisis. The only they think about is money and their precious Tour de France.

    It is in no way ethical to organize a cycling race while the rest of France can’t even leave their house. Why do they think that there will be a exception for them, while all other (sport)events are cancelled ?

    Also from the sportive way of view I do have some doubts about organizing a Tour de France. In some countries cyclist have no option to train because it’s not allowed to leave their house, while in some other countries there are less severe restrictions. And riding a grand Tour without any preparation is the last thing we would want. Just because it’s far from healthy.

    Other important point and quite an important one. Have they considered what they will do if one of the riders, mechanics, masseurs, chefs or any other member from the team will test positive on Covid-19 ?

    Cyclists can’t take 2 meters of distance from one eachother, so if one member from any of the teams is infected they have to cancel the rest of the Tour de France straight away. because who knows how many others will be infected already ?

    So organizing a Tour de France is a very big “no go” !

    As a big cycling fan I would love to see all the races like nothing is going on, but that is not the current situation and this will not just fly over in a few weeks time.

    Organizing a Tour de France ore any other big sport event is a utopia, just accept that ASO !


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