On Saturday’s eighth stage in the Pyrenees, the televised footage clearly drew supporters with their masks down as the riders tackled the Peyresourde.“It’s definitely a problem,” said Nicholas Roche of Sunweb. “I think the photos say it all. I had mixed feelings when I saw the fans on the Peyresourde and started getting goosebumps again with the adrenaline rush. I was like ‘ah this is the Tour’ and the next thing right away was like ‘no, that can’t be fair’.
To access the climbs, fans needed a bike and a mask, which makes it even more puzzling that spectators wear their masks under their chins as the peloton passes.
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“They had it under their chin so they could scream, but you can also scream with your mask on,” Roche continued. “Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to control… I hope there will be more controls, but I’m also sorry for the police officers up there fighting against all of this.
Dan Martin, of Israel Start-Up Nation, says that while the risk of catching the coronavirus from a roadside fan isn’t huge, everyone who comes to watch the Tour has their part to play in making sure as the race arrives in Paris, not to mention the risk spectators could pose as coronavirus cases continue to recur in France.
“Obviously, all the science says there isn’t a huge risk in catching it from a fan on the side of the road and even within the peloton, but at the same time, it is it really worth the risk? ” Said Martin.
“You can also understand that it is very difficult for ASO to apply it, it is almost impossible, you cannot go around every person, this is the story of this whole pandemic, it is about everyone to do their little bit and we just have to trust and ask the fans to play their part, ”he continued. “Anyone who wears their mask on the side of the road must feel like they are doing their part to get to Paris.”
As the riders climbed the Col du Marie Blanque on the ninth stage, a yellow fence was erected to keep fans off the road, but Adam Yates said he felt the climbs were less noisy than in a year. non-pandemic.
“To be honest, I wasn’t looking at the fans, I was looking at the steering wheel in front of me. I won’t get to the heart of the matter… but it’s pretty common, ”Yates said as he saw unmasked fans on the side of the road, especially on the climbs. “There are quite a few fans on the side of the road without a mask. It’s better than usual, however, there aren’t all the crazy fans on the side of the road.
On the rest day following the ninth stage, the riders and sports directors will undergo a coronavirus test, the rest of their team’s staff having had a Sunday morning.
“If you have it, you have it,” Dan Martin said. “It’s not your fault and I think everyone’s biggest fear is false positives. Obviously, if you have it, it is for the greater good that you must return home. You have to understand that 100%. But if you don’t have it and just got a false positive and you come home, that’s not fair. We just have to hope that we still have 22 teams with us on Tuesday.
“It’s something that is on the minds of runners,” Roche added of Monday’s test. “And it would be wrong if it wasn’t because everyone is afraid that the race will continue. It’s that simple. “