The Tour de France peloton sighed its second collective sigh of relief Tuesday morning having got the all-clear from rest-day COVID testing.
All riders and staff on the race were tested for coronavirus Sunday night through Monday. The screening was the second in-race round of tests at this year’s Tour. The first batch, last Monday, had revealed four staffers and race boss Christian Prudhomme were positive for COVID-19.
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The news marks a success with organizer ASO, who will claim the race has provided a blueprint on how to stage a major sports event in the middle of a pandemic. With six days left to race, no rider has tested positive for coronavirus so far, with the world’s greatest cycling race on schedule to parade up the Champs-Élysées in Paris on Sunday.
Prudhomme returned to the Tour on Tuesday having quarantined for the past week after his positive test.
“We can only rejoice as this means our measures were a success,” Prudhomme said at the stage 16 start town of La Tour du Pin on Tuesday morning.
“We are faced with a virus that killed 30,000 people [in France] in the spring. We took the measures we had to… Everyone says the pandemic is going to stick around, it’s imperative we continue to live our lives. When people respect the rules and pay attention, it works.”
The announcement was a huge relief for the teams who risked being thrown off the Tour in case of two positives within their entourage. 785 tests were taken Sunday and Monday by a mobile testing unit, with all returning as negative.
“The organizers of the Tour de France and the UCI would like to thank all of the teams for their collaboration and for the vigilance that they have shown and will continue to show up until the finish in Paris,” read a statement from the race Tuesday morning.