Tour de France moved forward to avoid Tokyo 2020 clash

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The start of next year’s Tour de France has been moved forward a week to avoid clashing with the Tokyo 2020 men’s cycling road race.

The 2021 Tour, which was due to start in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 2 July, will now begin on 26 June and end on 18 July – allowing six days before the iconic Mount Fuji road race scheduled for Saturday 24 July.

However, as Copenhagen is also scheduled to host a last-16 match in the rearranged UEFA Euro 2020 football tournament over the same weekend, the city's Grand Depart will now take place in 2022 given the complexities around logistics and security of hosting two major events in close proximity. A new city for the 2021 Grand Depart has yet to be announced.

Thomas Voeckler, manager of the French cycling team, had told reporters it would be "almost mission impossible" for them to field their strongest team at Tokyo 2020 because of the clash.

"With the Tokyo Olympic Games being held from 23 July to 8 Aug 2021, the dates of several events have been adapted," the UCI said in a statement.

"It is of note that to avoid an overlapping of the Olympic road cycling races (24, 25 and 28 July) with the Tour de France (initially envisaged for 2-25 July), the French stage race will finish on 18 July, the weekend before the first weekend of the Olympics."

The change of date will come as good news for competitors. Rohan Dennis, the 2018 and 2019 World time trial champion who is bidding to become the first Australian man to win an Olympic road cycling title, had previously told reporters that he might miss the 2021 Tour if it overlapped with the Games.