Complete teams will be withdrawn from the Tour de France if two riders or staff members show severe symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. That’s according to an 18-page document that outlines a detailed list of protocols and mitigation to try and keep cover on the coronavirus over the next few weeks in cycling’s most important race.
Some have wondered if the whole Tour would be stopped if there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 inside the peloton. According to a document shared with the teams this week before the August 29 departure in Nice reviewed by VeloNews, The answer is no.
Only individual runners or staff, or – in the case of two or more infections – entire teams would be removed. The race will continue.
“If two or more people from the same team show strongly suspicious symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, the team in question will be expelled from the Tour de France,” the document said. “Its riders will not be allowed to start the Tour de France (or the next stage) and team personnel will have their accreditation withdrawn.”
Strict protocols don’t limit expulsion from the race only to confirmed cases of COVID-19. Anyone with severe signs of infection based on multiple symptoms will also be ruled out even before a COVID-19 follow-up check is performed.
Team medics and race medical staff will also act as judge and executioner in the mildest cases, and will decide whether a runner would be able to start a stage if they have lesser symptoms of a possible infection.
Race officials also take the concept of “contact tracing” very seriously. Anyone who comes in close contact with a rider or staff member who tests positive during the race could also be kicked out of the Tour, as well as face a 14-day quarantine.
The health rules describe the protocols of the tour
Everyone is wondering what will happen if there is a case of COVID-19 during the 107e edition of the Tour.
The organizers of the ASO race shared the health regulations with the teams this week before the August 29 start in Nice.
ASO leaves as little as possible to chance.
The plan provides the work plan for how teams should manage, protect, monitor and manage all of their riders and staff – limited to 30 per team – starting three days before the Tour and through September 20 in this. which will be a Tour contested in unprecedented form. conditions.
The paper describes the concept of ‘bubbles’, how often and when runners and staff are required to undergo COVID-19 checks, what team medics must do to monitor their runners and, most importantly, what to do. will pass if someone has severe symptoms of infection.
According to the document, the broader objectives of the protocols include limiting the size of the Tour entourage as well as minimizing contact with everyone in the race.
The ultimate goal, the document reads, is “to protect the health of the riders, team personnel and others involved in the Tour de France and to ensure that the event takes place”.
Limited ‘speech bubbles’ and contact keys to schedule
Don’t expect to have selfies with Egan Bernal in France. Social distancing will be taken to the extreme for the 2020 Tour.
As already underlined by the UCI, the concept of “bubble” is at the heart of the plan. The idea is that if everyone – from runners to staff and athletic directors – inside the bubble is free from COVID-19, the risk of spread is significantly reduced if contact with others is also severely limited.
To enter their respective “bubble”, all runners, staff and other staff must pass two COVID-19 checks. Anyone who tests positive will not be allowed to run or work on the Tour.
Any Tour-related runner who tests positive for COVID-19 as part of pre-race screenings may be replaced with a healthy runner until 10 a.m. on August 29.
All members of the Tour entourage will also be tested again on the two rest days, September 7 and September 14.
Another key component is symptom monitoring. Every day before and after each stage, doctors should assess the health of each runner and staff through a health checklist that lists all the potential symptoms of a possible infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, abnormal body aches and fatigue. , and other signs. .
Medics will then classify any symptoms as “moderately” or “highly suspect” and share the information with race medical staff and the COVID Czar.
A COVID-19 mobile medical unit will be at every stage of the day to speed up all the tests required on site.
A tour like no other
Health regulations also require the use of masks before and after stages, including inside buses and team cars. The rules also keep fans and the media at bay, and press conferences will be held online. Runners are not allowed to interact with fans at all, according to the rules.
No one, except riders and essential personnel, will be allowed to access the team bus parking lot before each stage. A mixed media zone will be set up under social distancing rules of at least six feet.
Employees will need to wear face masks, even when handing bags of food into feeding areas.
The rules even extend to hotels. Each team will be kept on its own floor or wing, with control over who is allowed to enter certain areas.
The rules and protocols are all part of the extraordinary stages put in place to try to allow the Tour to be contested. Anyone who does not follow the rules will have their credentials removed or risk being kicked out of the race.
Health rules and regulations are all being deployed to try to control COVID-19 within the Tour entourage. What the race organizers cannot control is what is happening across France.
If the coronavirus shifts into high gear and France sees a sharp increase in cases in the coming weeks, Tour protocols might not matter at all. Government officials have the last call.