The Tour de France rolls on with its full contingent of 22 teams Tuesday.
Race organizers ASO and governing body the UCI has confirmed that all teams will be starting the stage into Île de Ré after testing of the Tour’s “bubble” for COVID-19 over the rest day Monday. Under health rules, any teams with two positives would have been required to leave the race.
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While the riders race on, AFP stated Tuesday that Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme returned a positive coronavirus test and so will need to leave the race for a period. He is asymptomatic of the virus.
“I’m leaving the Tour for eight days,” Prudhomme told AFP. “I will do like any French employee in this kind of case.”
Testing also revealed that one staffer from each of Team Cofidis, Ag2r-La Mondiale, Ineos Grenadiers, and Mitchelton-Scott, as well as a technical service provider, tested positive and will be leaving the race.
Early reports had suggested that a member of staff from Deceuninck-Quick-Step had tested positive. The team later confirmed that an error was made in the laboratory with the sample that the individual provided and so a second test was taken, which returned as negative.
The peloton was on edge going into Monday’s first of two rest days, when over 800 inside the Tour bubble underwent controls.
The race continues Tuesday with the 168.5km route along France’s windy western coast, and the “bubble” remains intact.
The 2020 Tour started August 29 in Nice under a cloud of uncertainty and anxiety. Despite pre-race nerves, the race has unfolded better than expected.
Big, unruly crowds lined Saturday’s route across the Pyrénées, but overall, race organizers and teams expressed satisfaction with the safety and health protocols unrolled for what’s a very different Tour.
Full joint statement by the UCI and ASO:
In accordance with the Tour de France health protocol, developed in the framework of the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI) rules for the return of the road cycling season in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the entire “race bubble” was tested on the 7th and 8th September.
With all those with accreditations being tested within the 5 days preceding the Grand Départ in Nice and the “race bubble” once again being tested upon arriving on the Tour, this is the 3rd testing campaign since the beginning of the Tour.
A 4th test campaign is scheduled, with the same conditions, for the next rest day, in Isère on the 14th September. Its objective is to guarantee the health of the race for the riders and accredited personnel. A total of 841 tests were performed.
- No rider has tested positive for COVID-19 or is considered a contact case requiring quarantine.
- 1 staff member each from Team Cofidis, AG2R La Mondiale, Ineos Grenadiers, and Mitchelton-Scott have tested positive and left the race bubble.
- A technical service provider has also tested positive and has left the race.