Tour de France: riders positive for Covid will not necessarily be disqualified

Tour de France: riders positive for Covid will not necessarily be disqualified

Given the resurgence of the covid-19 epidemic in the professional peloton, the UCI has published a new protocol to better manage the pandemic. The teams participating in the Tour de France, which will start this Friday from Copenhagen, will have to present a negative antigen test two days before the start, ie this Wednesday, for each of its members. Above all, asymptomatic runners could be allowed to continue running.

Alert on the Grande Boucle. Three days before the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Copenhagen, the UCI speaks about the covid protocol put in place during the three weeks of racing. The international body indicates in a press release that the riders and staff of the teams will have to present a negative antigen test two days before the start of this Friday. Tests will also be carried out on rest days. The rule stating that if two members of a team test positive, the entire team is systematically withdrawn from the race is no longer relevant. Crucially, positive but asymptomatic runners might not be ruled out of the race. A committee of doctors will decide on a case-by-case basis whether the race will continue for each runner concerned. Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, was delighted with this decision by the UCI to West France: “Not necessarily excluding Covid positives? If they are asymptomatic, it is a common sense measure! Vlasov wins a stage on the Tour de Suisse, he is doing like a charm but has to go home…”

First measure of this protocol, the antigenic test which will have to be carried out two days before departure and which should of course be negative. Stage which has already put the Belgian Tim Declercq out of the circuit for the three weeks of racing after his positive test on Danish soil. The staff will also be subjected to these pre-Tour de France tests.

“A measure of common sense” according to Prudhomme

Then, the Tour caravan will be tested during the various rest days. Travel from Denmark requires, the Tour de France will exceptionally experience three days of rest on its 2022 edition. In the case of a positive antigen test then confirmed by a PCR test, the runner could continue the adventure. If he is asymptomatic, the rider will be examined by a medical committee made up of his team’s doctor, the Covid referent doctor of the Tour and the UCI medical director to rule on his case. Unlike the last two editions and the last UCI races, a positive test for covid is therefore no longer eliminatory. Another facet of this protocol, the removal of the rule which allowed the organizer to dismiss a team from the moment it presented two cases of covid (runners and staff combined).

Recently marked by the resurgence of covid, the professional peloton has suffered the consequences in recent weeks. The Tour de Suisse had a chaotic end after the abandonment of 36 riders due to covid-19. Leader of the event before his positive test, Aleksandr Vlasov had to give up two days of the term, just like Peter Sagan, winner of a stage.

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