Hope Tour of Britain can still come to Exeter in September – but organisers will ‘err on the side of caution’

Tour of Britain organisers are still hopeful the 2020 race – with a stage finish in Exeter – can go ahead in September.

The cycle spectacular is due to come to Devon on Monday, September 7, with its second stage beginning in Sherford, in the South Hams, and culminating in the city.

Competitors will have crossed the border from Cornwall, which is set to host the event for the first time on September 6.

Cycling’s global governing body the UCI announced last week released a revised season calendar due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It means the 107th Tour de France will run from August 29 to September 20 – clashing with Britain’s flagship cycle event.

But Hugh Roberts, CEO of promoter SweetSpot, told Cyclingnews: “There are no plans to change the date for the Tour of Britain.

“We are still working towards putting the race on in September but are mindful that this will only be possible if the wider situation allows us to.

“We have to continue with our planning. If everything returned to somewhere close to normal by September, and we weren’t planning for it now, we wouldn’t be able to put it on at all.

“We have in our minds’ eye the third week of July – if we weren’t in a clearer position by then we would have to seriously consider our options, one of which would be to not run it at all.

“Postponing is not really an option. But for the moment we are continuing to plan for September.

“The stance we are adopting is that if the virus is behind us and if that happens to coincide with the Tour of Britain, it will bring a lot of joy to a lot of people. We are working and looking ahead as usual.

“We have always had a scheduling conflict with the Vuelta, but that hasn’t really been a problem and a lot of riders have used the Tour of Britain as prep for the Worlds.

“I’m not saying that the field won’t be affected by the Tour [de France], but we will get some big teams and we will get some big names.”

Mr Roberts said SweetSpot has been ‘working closely with ITV’ as both the Tour of Britain and Tour de France are broadcast live on ITV4.

He told Cyclingnews: “In fact, it might mean that there’s a feast of cycling on live each day, plus there will be highlights of both races each evening.”

Mr Roberts added: “We will follow all public health and government guidance and err on the side of caution.”

Tour of Britain cycle race will return to Devon and Exeter in 2020