The Tour returns to the initial idea: two positives, expulsion

The French Government recommended that the organization resume the original measure on the virus: it does not matter whether the cases are of cyclists or technical staff.


The Tour reversed its sanitary protocol. After several days of tension and intense negotiation, it seemed that the parties involved, the organization, the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the teams, agreed that only two positives for coronavirus of riders within a week would mean the expulsion of the squads. However, the French Government recommended that ASO, the responsible company, return to the previous measure: two cases of COVID-19, whether of cyclists or staff members (each bubble amounts to 30 members), will mean the immediate exclusion of the formation. The decision was made "late this Friday", according to the sources consulted by AS.

Obviously, teams don't like it “any fun”. In fact, Lotto Soudal has already registered two positives in its coaching staff, which it sent home along with the other two people with whom they shared a room. Their participation was not in jeopardy, because the squad was not affected and the original resolution on the virus had not yet been established. Christian Prudhomme, the director of the round, stated that "the criteria of French Health will never be contradicted": "They will set the guidelines according to the evolution of the pandemic." France reported more than 7,000 daily infections on Friday, while Nice entered the red zone on Thursday.

The UCI required that positives be assured "by a second test to avoid false results" and hypothetical expulsions based on incorrect tests. However, time can play against if it is to confirm the data before a stage. The mobile laboratory in the race has a capacity to carry out 50 daily checks on normal days and 350 on rest days.

AS spoke in the Tour village with David Lappartient, president, and Louis Chenaille, communication director of the UCI. The agency works "hand in hand with ASO and the health authorities." In addition, it studies “all the options” in case the competition should stop due to the excessive risk of infection: “We still do not know how a hypothetical half-stage classification would be resolved, or if the track record would be left deserted. However, we only contemplate the scenario of the event arriving in Paris and proceeding with maximum normality ”. Javier Guillén, director of the Vuelta, also present in Nice, considers that the operation of the Tour will serve as a role model for the Giro and the Vuelta, although in autumn the coronavirus will rage "and the unknowns will multiply." The actors involved point to the first day of rest as a turning point: if there are no positives and things progress smoothly, Paris may not be that far away.

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