Vuelta a Espana

No new COVID-19 positives in latest Vuelta a España controls

Vuelta a España officials vow the race will continue despite worsening health conditions across Spain.

The 2020 Vuelta a España rolls on Tuesday with no new cases of COVID-19.

Race organizers confirmed Tuesday that no one within the race bubble tested positive in 684 controls carried out Sunday and Monday at the Vuelta.

The announcement will come as a relief as health conditions worsen across Spain.

Like the Tour de France, the Vuelta is applying the “two strikes and out” policy on COVID-19, so if two riders within one week test positive, the entire team will be removed from the race.

This is the latest set of PCR controls conducted by the Vuelta organization since the race started. Two staffers from two different teams were tested positive for COVID-19 in pre-race screenings, but no riders were found to be infected before the race started in Irún.

The controls are part of ongoing efforts to mitigate impacts of the coronavirus on the season’s final race. So far, many in the peloton say that the Vuelta is doing a good job at protecting riders, staffers and everyone else inside the race bubble.

“It feels very safe. There is hardly anybody outside of the ‘bubble’ that I have come in contact with,” Sepp Kuss (Jumb0-Visma) told VeloNews. “Even in the hotels, we can only sit four people at the table. It’s quite strict, and it feels very safe. The situation in Spain right now isn’t amazing, but as far as the race goes, it’s a good, safe atmosphere.”

Riders did say they felt a bit uneasy about racing during the worsening health situation in Spain. Officials say they have assurances the race can continue. A new wave of restrictions were introduced across Spain, including some travel limitations, reduced hours and occupancy for bars and restaurants, as well as a nighttime curfew.

“I’m sitting on the fence as far as that question goes,” said Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), when asked if he was comfortable racing during the pandemic. “The race organization here is doing a superb job, and it’s the safest I’ve felt racing all year. But when you see cycling continuing as normal, when so many people are struggling, is it correct that we continue while so many others make sacrifices? I also understand it’s bringing a lot of enjoyment to people’s lives, and it’s brings some joy to the world. It’s a tricky question. I am just going to enjoy the race as long as it lasts.”

The Vuelta continued Tuesday with a tricky stage in Spain’s Basque Country featuring two passages up the Cat. 1 Puerto de Orduña.