The UCI is planning to use the Paris-Nice 2020 race as a template to implement the safe return of road racing ©Getty Images

The World Cycling Union (UCI) will use the Paris-Nice 2020 race – the last event of the UCI WorldTour held before the coronavirus lockdown – as a template for the safe return of elite road racing events.

"We will draw on the experience of Paris-Nice," a UCI spokesman told insidethegames.

"Given that they take place outside, over several hundreds of kilometres and on public routes, road events pose specific problems.

"Spectators gather along the roadsides, and it is necessary to secure zones where the concentration is high {start, finish, mountain passes}.

"At Paris-Nice in March, the protocols at the start {signing-in} and finish {podium ceremony} were therefore adapted.

"Physical barriers between the public and riders will most certainly be used again as part of the measures recommended by the steering group with a view to the resumption of racing.

"Other competitions, such as mountain bike downhill or BMX {racing and freestyle} and track – these last two taking place in closed zones – could be easier to secure, even though there will obviously be other considerations to be taken into account when it comes to television broadcasts and ticketing.

The measures currently being considered by the UCI for future road racing include:

Testing before the races and checks during competition {it is not yet decided whether it will be compulsory or on a voluntary basis}

Distancing fans and media from athletes {barriers}

Adapting protocols {riders’ signing at the start /award ceremonies at the finish,  access tightened to limit attendance}

Creation of "bubbles" at riders’ hotels to separate teams.

A UCI spokesperson added, however, that this is a work in progress, with measures due to be announced in the next few weeks.

Measures that may be in place at the intended start of the season in "July/August" – are likely to loosen "in September and beyond" if the situation allows.

Meanwhile the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is considering athlete "bubbles" as being the way forward.

"When it comes to travel, being an International Federation that primarily organises international events, this is something we need to consider closely," said an ITTF spokesperson.

"We are aware that 'travel bubbles' will open around the world, at different times, with different benefits and disadvantages.

"The ITTF has also been considering the possibility of establishing their own 'bubble' with elite players to recommence high level table tennis.

"We are thinking of many different options to get live table tennis back ASAP."

For the full picture of how world sport might look post-coronavirus, see The Big Read