Organisers of L'Etape du Tour have announced a date change, with this year's edition moving forward a day from Sunday 7 July to Saturday 6 July.

The change of date comes just three weeks before the event, leaving the plans of 15,000 entrants - many of whom would be international entrants travelling from outside France - in disarray.

It is prompted by the announcement of elections called by President Macron on Sunday. Polling is set to take place on two dates, 30 June and 7 July, with the latter date clashing with L'Etape du Tour.

The rationale is that residents of Nice and the villages along the Etape course would find it difficult to get out to vote if roads were closed or congested due to Etape traffic.

The Etape organisers broke the news in a statement on the event website, making clear the decision was taken by the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi.

"Due to the legislative election called for 30 June and 7 July in France, it is no longer possible to organise L'Étape du Tour de France, which has a 15,000-strong field of amateur riders and was scheduled to take place on Sunday, 7 July between Nice and the Col de la Couillole.

"The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has suggested holding L'Étape du Tour de France one day earlier on the exact same route. In concertation with the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes Department, Hughes Moutouh, and ASO the event organiser, we have jointly agreed to move the race forward to Saturday, 6 July 2024.

"L'Étape du Tour de France is a major event that brings together 15,000 participants, which imposes massive logistical requirements and necessitates the wholehearted involvement of all the towns and cities along the route", pointed out the Mayor of Nice.

"By bringing it forward by one day, we can make sure that the 15,000 participants get to live out their passion in our corner of the world and, at the same time, we can guarantee that all the voters in our department have no problems getting to their polling stations on Sunday, 7 July for the second round of the legislative election."

The route remains unchanged, with riders facing a 138km course.

The statement notably fails to acknowledge the inconvenience and expense that entrants will face as a consequence of the date change, nor does it make any reference to the possibility of refunds or transferring entries to a future edition.

Instead, it simply concludes:

"As you can imagine, we have had to make several changes to make sure everything goes without a hitch on Saturday, 6 July. For instance, we have extended the opening hours of the race number retrieval village, which will be open from Thursday morning to 9 pm on Friday. The shuttles will also be rescheduled as needed.

"We are looking forward to seeing you next month."

The late date change has not gone down well with the majority of entrants. The Etape's social media feeds are flooded with comments from riders expressing their anger and disappointment at no longer being able to take part.