Cycling: Paris-Nice organisers to change route of race finale amid COVID-19 restrictions

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PARIS (Reuters) - The route of the prestigious Paris-Nice week-long race's finale will need to be 'adapted' amid COVID-19 restrictions in the Azurean city, regional authorities said on Thursday.

"Technical meetings are underway between the organisers and the State services to adapt the course," the Prefecture des Alpes Maritimes said in a statement.

"In any case, these stages can only take place outside the locked down area and without spectators."

Saturday's penultimate stage is due to start in Nice and Sunday's final stage was expected to start in Nice and finish on its famous Promenade des Anglais, the Cote d'Azur's most iconic walk.

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi has requested the Promenade, which would normally be full of people strolling in the spring sunshine but has been closed for the last two weekends, be opened to pedestrians and cyclists this Saturday and Sunday.

"For the sake of consistency, I... request the cancellation of the Paris-Nice finish as it is currently planned," Estrosi tweeted after the French government extended the weekend lockdown to Saturday and Sunday.

The government imposed a weekend lockdown in Nice and other Cote d'Azur resorts as the area has been one of the worst-hit by the novel coronavirus with an incidence rate nearing 500 cases per 100,000 - more than twice the national rate.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Ken Ferris)