AFP, published on Wednesday September 16, 2020 at 7:06 p.m.
Despite the acceleration of the virus, major sporting and cultural events must be held whenever possible, pleaded Emmanuel Macron visiting the Tour de France on Wednesday, inviting the French to “hang on” before “better days”.
To show that it is possible to “live with the virus”, the Head of State followed by car the end of the stage linking Grenoble to Méribel and witnessed its impressive arrival at the top of the Loze pass (2.304 meters), the highest point of this 107th Tour.
“It was extremely important in this context to show that you have to live with the virus. It is running faster and faster in some departments, which leads the government to tighten the rules a bit,” he said, while the government is considering additional restrictions in other major cities, after Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux.
“For months the virus will be there. This means that whatever we can do with good rules we must try to keep it”, he continued, citing in particular the Roland-Garros tournament and the days of Heritage.
“Our French art of living is made up of major sporting and cultural events, we hold to them” and “whenever we can hold them, we must hold them, with constraints” such as reduced gauges in the stages.
Emmanuel Macron attended the stage in the car of François Lemarchand, one of the leaders of the event, and not, contrary to tradition, in that of the director of the Tour Christian Prudhomme.
The latter returned to the helm of the event on Tuesday after a week of isolation due to a positive Covid test. Prime Minister Jean Castex, who came on the Tour in the Pyrenees, was also forced to observe a period of isolation.
After having applauded, from a good distance, the winner of the stage, the Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez, Mr. Macron congratulated the organizers of the Tour for having been “exemplary” with regular tests, “bubbles” which protect the teams and a masked audience.
As for the French riders, less ahead this year, he told them to “hang on”. In an analogy to the crisis, he concluded that, “even when it’s hard, we have to hang on and we all fight together (…), there are years that are harder than others. but if we know how to organize ourselves, if we know how to hold out in difficult times, there are better days ahead “.