Lalande struck a similar tone last October, despite the mayor of Roubaix confidently mentioning the races could go ahead safely. ASO outlined potential procedures to restrict roadside presence after a successful running of a rescheduled Tour de France, but the regional authorities eventually felt compelled to call it off. The Roubaix velodrome, where the races finish, can quickly be closed the public but it is more challenging to keep fans away from the popular cobblestone sectors.
Doubts surrounding the running of Paris-Roubaix this spring have increased after a local politician highly suggested the races could not proceed in the current COVID-19 pandemic in France.
The males’s race and the inaugural edition of the women’s race were held off last spring and then cancelled totally due to constraints at the time of the rescheduled October dates. A comparable scenario is looking increasingly most likely as case numbers continue to rise in France and brand-new lockdown measures are imposed.
Michel Lalande, head of the Hauts-de-France region, appeared on the France Bleu radio station on Monday early morning and was asked straight whether the races would occur on April 11.
“It’s an exceptional question, thanks for asking it. I promise you the scoop when there is a response, but you can think what it will be,” he stated cryptically. When it was put to him that he didn’t appear positive, he stated: “I see the sky a little less blue …”
Race organiser ASO did not comment when contact by Cyclingnews.
The Hauts-de-France in north west France has been especially struck by high COVID-19 case numbers in recent weeks and the whole region was place under rigorous lockdown on Saturday, lasting for a minimum of four weeks – the weekend after Paris-Roubaix.
Lalande struck a similar tone last October, in spite of the mayor of Roubaix with confidence mentioning the races could go on safely. ASO laid out potential procedures to restrict roadside attendance after an effective running of a rescheduled Tour de France, but the local authorities eventually felt forced to call it off. The Roubaix velodrome, where the races end up, can easily be closed the public however it is more hard to keep fans far from the popular cobblestone sectors. Nevertheless, recent projects in Belgium have actually kept numbers down during the opening Classics and the recent Paris-Nice travelled through a location in lockdown e en if the last stages were moved away from central Nice to allow regional citizens to hang around on the Promenade des Anglais seafront.
It was pointed out to Lalande that the other patched Classics in Belgium – beginning on Wednesday with Driedaagse De Panne – are going on, regardless of a similar increase in case numbers over the border.
“You need to describe the logic of that, with the precaution and everything else,” he stated.