According to the revised protocol, it will be up to the organizers of the Tour de France to decide whether to exclude an entire team from the race.
“In the case of two or more riders from the same team who test positive for COVID-19 within seven days during a Grand Tour, the UCI will give the organizer of the event the authorization to announce the withdrawal from the team for health reasons ”, declared the UCI.
Four members of the staff of the Belgian Lotto-Soudal team were sent home Thursday after “non-negative” coronavirus tests. The team said a mechanic and pilot support staff returned “a positive result and a suspect result.” Both left the racing bubble with their roommates.
The UCI said the latest revisions “stem from a desire to optimize the interpretation of a positive viral diagnostic test and confirm that it does correspond to a recent coronavirus infection.”
In the event of a positive result, the UCI also urged the organizers to “do everything possible” to perform a new test and blood analysis before the next stage.
“These additional examinations will be a very useful additional element in the overall medical assessment, which will allow the contagious character of the runner (or member of the team) to be assessed or not,” he said.
The measure aims to avoid false positive tests that could rule out healthy runners.
The UCI said team members who tested positive during the race will be isolated and will have to leave if a second test cannot be completed in time.
German team Bora-Hansgrohe were among those who expressed concern after a first that their riders tested positive and then negative on Tuesday, which resulted in their entire team being withdrawn from the one-day race of Brittany Classic.
Initially, the Tour’s COVID-19 protocol stipulated that teams would be expelled if two or more of their runners or staff members tested positive for the virus within seven days.
“The adjustments made today to the UCI protocol have enabled us to find the right balance between the legitimate concerns of teams facing the risk of exclusion and the vital preservation of the health of the peloton”, declared UCI President David Belongs to it.