After weeks of holding out hope that the Tour de France would be able to go ahead as planned, the world’s most famous cycling race was finally added to the list of sporting events postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-week race could still take place this year, however, with French newspapers reporting late Tuesday that a new start date has been set for August. Both L’Equipe and Le Parisien said organizers are now hoping to stage the race from Aug. 29-Sept. 20.
That new time slot would see the race end on Champs-Élysées just as the rescheduled French Open tennis tournament starts a few miles away in western Paris.
Tour organizer Amaury Sport Organisation did not immediately reply to a request for confirmation from The Associated Press. But local authorities in Haute-Savoie region tweeted that the last of the mountain stages will pass through its rugged and daunting climbs on Sept. 17 on the race’s 18th stage.
The Tour was set to start on June 27 in the Riviera city of Nice. But that effectively became impossible on Monday night when French President Emmanuel Macron announced in his speech to the nation that all public events with large crowds have been cancelled until at least mid-July.
– Associated Press
Tokyo has no ‘Plan B’ for another Olympic postponement
There is no “Plan B” for the Olympics if they need to be postponed again because of the coronavirus pandemic, Tokyo organizers said Tuesday.
Masa Takaya, the spokesman for the Tokyo Olympics, said organizers are proceeding under the assumption the Olympics will open on July 23, 2021. The Paralympics follow on Aug. 24.
Those dates were set last month by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese officials after the coronavirus pandemic made it clear the Tokyo Games could not be held as scheduled this year.
“We are working toward the new goal,” Takaya said, speaking in English on a teleconference call with journalists. “We don’t have a B Plan.”
– Associated Press
NHL extends self-quarantine recommendation through April 30 due to COVID-19
The NHL has extended its self-quarantine recommendation for an additional 15 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league announced Tuesday that the recommendation, which applies to players, coaches and staff, has been prolonged until April 30 following consultation with medical experts and representatives from the NHL Players’ Association.
The NHL put its 2019-20 campaign on pause March 12 with 189 regular-season games remaining. Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the time he was optimistic the season would resume, though the duration of the self-quarantine recommendation has been extended three times since then.
The regular season was initially scheduled to end April 4, with the playoffs starting four days later.
– Associated Press
Without the NHL playoffs, hockey cities are feeling a loss
This promised to be a weekend to remember in a country whose national obsession has become a rite of spring. The first round of the NHL playoffs would have just begun in five Canadian cities. In bars and restaurants everywhere, prodigious amounts of beer and food would have been consumed by fans seated elbow to elbow.
Instead, hospitality businesses in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver will be closed, or at best, open for takeout only. The void left in communities is another toll exacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A month ago, the Flames, Oilers and Maple Leafs were shoe-ins for the postseason. The Jets held a wildcard spot. The Canucks were just a hair’s breadth behind.
Then games ceased as the novel coronavirus spread. There is little in the way of sports to celebrate other than a new hockey quiz show hosted by P.K. Subban and an NBA game of H-O-R-S-E. The Masters, another rite of spring, won’t be played this weekend.
– Marty Klinkenberg
Draft date unknown, but NBA presses on with evaluations
There are many unknowns about the NBA draft, though some elements are proceeding as usual and one deadline is looming this week.
The NBA — as per usual — has been sending evaluations to players who are considering leaving college early and entering the draft and will continue doing so to all underclassmen who ask for them before Thursday’s deadline. That task falls to the league’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which understands that what it says in these uncertain times may carry even more weight than usual.
“This is a process that’s important, maybe more important this year than ever,” said Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA’s Executive Vice-President of Basketball Operations and UAC committee chair. “We’re trying to get the athletes and the schools as much information as we possibly can. It’s important that they have the clearest picture.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the sports world, including the NBA, nobody knows when the draft will be held, who will have the No. 1 overall pick or how that will be decided. Nobody even knows when or if the draft combine, which is scheduled for mid-May and technically has not yet been changed, will take place.
– Associated Press
MLB employees, families invited to COVID-19 test study
Major League Baseball employees and their families were invited to participate in an independent community testing study for COVID-19 in order to gauge the presence of the disease in the United States, a league source confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday.
The study, headed up by the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, will use antibody tests separate from those health care providers commonly use to diagnose the disease.
Researchers, who are partnering with Stanford University and the University of Southern California in the study, reached out to the commissioner’s office citing the geographically diverse nature of the league.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, told ESPN that the speed with which MLB could co-ordinate its employees for the study was a determining factor in working with the league.
– Associated Press
Simulated series between Canada’s best ball teams of all time
In place of on-field baseball action postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Globe and Mail brings you a computer-simulated tournament involving four of the greatest Canadian teams, using the statistics-based software of the sports-game company Strat-O-Matic.
Two first-round series eliminated the 1981 Montreal Expos and the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays, leaving the 1993 Jays and the ’94 Expos to compete for the mythical Macdonald-Cartier Cup.
'94 Montreal Expos vs. ’93 Toronto Blue Jays
- Game 1: Three-run home run by Moises Alou propels ’94 Expos over ’93 Jays
- Game 2: 1993 Blue Jays trash ‘94 Expos 11-4 to even the series
- Game 3: More than just okay, the 1993 Jays beat the ’94 Expos to take a 2-1 series lead
- Game 4: Toronto starter Todd Stottlemyre loses cool in 7-3 defeat at the hands of the 1994 Expos
- Game 5: ’94 Expos beat ’93 Blue Jays to go up three games to two in Macdonald-Cartier Cup final
- Game 6: 1994 Montreal Expos beat ’93 Blue Jays to claim title of Canada’s best-ever baseball team
'93 Blue Jays vs. ’85 Blue Jays
- Game 1: Alomar leads 1993 Blue Jays in comeback win over the Jays of ’85 in simulated showdown
- Game 2: Stewart tosses gem as 1993 Blue Jays extend series lead over ’85 squad
- Game 3: Base-running flub means 1985 Jays lose third straight to ’93 squad
- Game 4: 1993 Jays use small-ball dramatics to complete sweep of ’85 Jays
'94 Expos vs. ’81 Expos
- Game 1: The 1994 Montreal Expos strike first in series against the Expos of ’81
- Game 2: 1994 Expos shut down ’81 side behind devilish pitching of Pedro Martinez
- Game 3: Ray Burris leads the 1981 Expos to 5-1 victory over 1994 Montrealers
- Game 4: The 1994 Montreal Expos edge the ‘81 Expos to take a commanding 3-1 series lead
- Game 5: MVP Ken Hill leads ‘94 Expos over ‘81 Expos in series-clinching win
Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament in Montreal off schedule for 2020
The Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament will not be played this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tennis Canada announced Saturday the event, scheduled for Aug. 7 to 16 in Montreal, is off the schedule.
Quebec’s government announced Friday no sporting events could be held through Aug. 31, though it left the door slightly open for pro teams.
Tennis Canada says the women’s event will return to Montreal in August 2021.
The women’s and men’s Rogers Cup traditionally rotate between Toronto and Montreal.
As of Saturday, the men’s event still is on schedule for Toronto in August 2020. A Tennis Canada spokesperson said planning will continue for the Toronto event until Ontario or the city reach a similar decision as Quebec, or the ATP Tour continues its suspension of play.
Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since Second World War due to coronavirus
Wimbledon was cancelled on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time since the Second World War that the oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament won’t be played.
Britain imposed a nationwide lockdown just over a week ago, and the All England Club announced after a two-day emergency meeting that the event it refers to simply as The Championships is being scrapped for 2020. That hadn’t happened since 1945.
Wimbledon was scheduled to be played on the club’s grass courts on the outskirts of London from June 29 to July 12.
Instead, the next edition of the tournament will be June 28 to July 11, 2021.
U.S. Women’s Open Postponed Until December
The U.S. Golf Association postponed the 75th U.S. Women’s Open from early June to mid-December on Friday, a notable sign that golf’s governing bodies are seriously weighing dates late this year as they scramble to reschedule an ever-expanding list of major postponed events.
The women’s Open will now be contested Dec. 10-13 at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, which had been set to host the event June 4-7. It would be the first women’s major held in December.
“The USGA remains committed to hosting the U.S. Women’s Open in 2020,” Mike Davis, the USGA chief executive, said. “Our priority remains ensuring the safety of all involved with the U.S. Women’s Open, while still providing the world’s best players the opportunity to compete this year.”
It is the third women’s major to be postponed in recent weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, behind the ANA Inspiration and the Evian Championship. The ANA Inspiration, originally scheduled for this month, has been moved to Sept. 10-13. The Evian Championship was moved back two weeks to Aug. 6-9.
– New York Times
PGA suspends The Masters in response to coronavirus outbreak
Augusta National last week postponed the Masters, another massive hit to the spring sports calendar.
So much for that annual rite of spring and the first week in April devoted to the brilliance of dogwoods and azaleas, Amen Corner and Tiger Woods chasing another green jacket.
“Unfortunately, the ever-increasing risks associated with the widespread coronavirus have led us to a decision that undoubtedly will be disappointing to many, although I am confident is appropriate under these unique circumstances,” Masters chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement.
The Masters had been scheduled for April 9 to 12.
Ridley said he hoped the decision puts Augusta National in the best position to host the Masters and its two other amateur events “at some later date.”
He did not indicate when the Masters could be played. The private club traditionally closes in May and does not open for its members until October.
A day earlier, the PGA Tour cancelled the rest of The Players Championship and decided to shut down its other tournaments for the next three weeks.
The PGA Championship, which was scheduled to start May 11 in San Francisco, was postponed as well.
The LPGA has also postponed its events on the main tour through April 5.
– Associated Press
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