In the absence of any official word from organisers and politicians, speculation and rumours are dominating the conversation surrounding this year’s staging of Paris-Roubaix.
Rising Covid-19 cases in northern France mean that Roubaix and the surrounding area is currently back in lockdown, with people only allowed to leave their home for essential reasons.
Paris-Roubaix is set to take place on Sunday, April 11, and recent developments led to media reports last week about its imminent cancellation. Since then, however, nothing official has been announced.
Cycling Weekly has spoken with a few teams in recent days about the race, but all have said that they know nothing that isn’t already in the public domain. They are, however, expecting a decision to be made before the end of the week.
On Tuesday, French website 20 minutes quoted a local official as saying that it is “99.99% sure” that Roubaix will be postponed to later in the year.
Politicians fear that the arrival of the men’s and women’s peloton, which counts riders, team staff, logistics crew and press personnel, is not appropriate when the region’s residents are being told to stay at home to stymie the spread of the virus. Teams themselves are also on heightened alert following a number of positive cases in the last two weeks.
Attention, then, has turned to when Roubaix is likely to be held should its postponement be confirmed. Media reports across the continent suggest that either October 17 or October 24 are the most likely dates.
The UCI prefers not to host men’s WorldTour events concurrently, although the Chinese race Gree-Tour of Guangxi is in the calendar to take place between October 14 and 19.
But with the women’s Ronde van Drenthe slated for October 23, it is thought that October 17 is the better fit for the inaugural female edition and the 118th men’s race.