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Tour de France set to kickoff in Nice on Saturday with the Grand Départ

© Rob Wingate

The Tour de France is finally scheduled to go ahead on Saturday but there are renewed concerns for local infections as the Alpes-Maritimes department is put on red alert due to the pandemic. 

Rising infections in the PACA region have forced the French government to take extra precautions to ensure the spread is slowed as hospitals report an increase in visits. 

This year’s Tour de France is facing a new challenge with the restrictions on Covid-19 including social distancing rules and testing which have complicated the tournament. 

However, in a defiant message this week, Tour de France director said that “only world wars” would stop it from going ahead, however the recent surge in infections in just the last few days has made it more difficult to proceed with the Grand Départ.

Nice is now classified as one of the 19 regions being placed under red alert for the pandemic, with stricter measures being taken at the local level and increased testings. 

The race is set to start on Saturday in the centre of Nice and will then progress to the mountains on Sunday. It is however unclear whether the original route will remain as other regions also face stricter social distancing rules, making it difficult for people to see the race.

On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for more “sovereignty” in areas of healthcare and industry, with a push for a recovery plan including increased capacity across the country.