No Giro d’Italia drama, s’il vous plait: COVID-19 protocols to return to the Tour de France

Reuters reports strict anti-COVID measures will be enforced as masks, distancing, and 'bubbles' return to the Tour de France.

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Reports out of Reuters news agency indicate strict COVID protocols will return to the Tour de France this summer.

Jonas Vingegaard, Tadej Pogačar, Mark Cavendish and Co. will be required to wear face masks at podium ceremonies and will be forbidden from signing autographs or posing for selfies.

Riders will also be banned from eating outside of their hotels as the concepts of social distancing and team “bubbles” return to the Tour de France circus.

“For all the team members: Respect the confinement. Limit the interactions outside the race bubble. No eating out. Respect social distancing at the hotel,” read an official document statement seen by Reuters.

“Do not get too close to the spectators. Social distancing, no selfies, no autographs.”

COVID cases recently reported in France are a fraction on this point in 2022.

However, alarm bells were no doubt sounding loud through ASO headquarters last month when the Giro d’Italia was struck by a wave of the virus.

Remco Evenepoel was the highest-profile casualty of a bout of COVID-19 that swept out of the Tour de Romandie and through the corsa rosa, contributing to one of the highest dropout rates in memory.

Tour de France organizer ASO has not yet confirmed the return of full COVID measures for this year’s race.

However, restrictions have been applied to its marquee tune-up race this week at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where top talents like Vingegaard, Julian Alaphilippe, and David Gaudu are all testing their pre-Tour form.

“Maybe the measures are too heavy, but I really want to ride the Tour,” Alaphilippe said in his pre-Dauphiné press conference this week.

“Cycling is perhaps the sport you have the most control over. That is why there were so many positive cases in the Tour of Italy. It spoils the party a bit, but you have to get used to it. I hope it will all be over some day.”

Anti-COVID measures were relatively relaxed through the front half of last year’s Tour de France, and riders that tested positive were not automatically eliminated. Reporters and VIPs were free to roam around the team paddocks and mingle among team staff.

Access was then curbed mid-race when the virus trickled into the bunch.

Reuters reports access to team paddock areas will be allowed when the Tour rolls out of Bilbao on July 1 but masks will be mandatory.

“I don’t mind, as long as we protect our health,” Gaudu told AFP of the likely new protocol. “I’d rather wear a face mask than have everyone panic again due to the epidemic and see riders are out of the race due to COVID-19.”


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