UCI to sanction teams and event organizers if COVID-19 rules are not followed

Cycling's governing body will punish riders, teams, and events that do not comply with the new COVID-19 rules.

The UCI will slap teams, race organizers, and even riders with fines or other penalties if they do not follow the new rules surrounding COVID-19 safety.

The news was announced Wednesday afternoon in a release issued by the governing body.

According to the decision, teams that fail to present proof of a rider’s diagnostic test will face fines decided by the UCI’s disciplinary commission, and the rider will also be removed from the event. Organizers that do not comply with the long list of COVID-19 safety face fines, stern warnings, and even the possible removal from the UCI international road calendar.

“In the interests of all, everyone must play the game faced with the risk of the spread of the virus,” said UCI President David Lappartient in a release. “More than one and a half months after the publication of the protocol of procedures to be followed, and strengthened by improvements to the measures, it is important that all members of the road cycling family remain responsible for their actions. Respecting the requirements of the protocol is to act for the common good. At a crucial moment for our sport where, as we can see, the situation remains delicate, it is of the utmost importance to act more closely united and responsibly than ever.”

The news adds teeth to the UCI’s rulebook on COVID-19 safety, which was released on June 19 and implemented when racing began earlier this month. The document set standards for how teams and events should handle the return to racing, such as the ‘bubble’ concept for squads, social distancing, the wearing of masks, and limited contact on pre- and post-race podium ceremonies.

The new protocols come on the heels of two high-profile incidents at the Vuelta a Burgos, which saw both the Israel Start-Up Nation and UAE-Team Emirates remove riders from the race due to their contact with individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. Israel Start-Up Nation sent rider Itamar Einhorn home because he had been in contact with a teammate, Omer Goldstein, who had tested positive for COVID-19. The team then pulled Alex Dowsett from the race due to his contact with Einhorn.

UAE-Team Emirates on Wednesday removed riders Juan Sebastian Molano, Cristian Munoz, and Andres Camilo from the race after all three were in contact with an individual who had tested positive for COVID-19. On Wednesday afternoon all three returned negative tests for the virus.