Two riders face further Covid testing after the whole Tour de France peloton underwent testing on Sunday evening. 150 riders tested negative on the lateral flow tests, and so are free to continue.
The UCI released a statement (opens in new tab) saying that, similar to the last rest day, all riders were tested the day before the second rest day. The statement confirmed that all tests were negative, with the exception of two riders who have had their test results sent for further examination on a biological basis.
However, the two riders in question are outside the top 20 of the race’s overall classification.
On Sunday evening, all riders were immediately tested after the stage which ended with Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) taking the win.
The statement in full read: “In accordance with the “Rules for the organisation of road cycling competitions in the context of the coronavirus pandemic” established by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and recently updated for the Grand Tours, all riders participating in the Tour de France were tested on the evening of 17 July, the day before the rest day.
While the two riders undergoing further testing are completely asymptomatic, security measures (isolation of the two riders) have been implemented to protect the other participants.
A final decision on their participation in the remainder of the event will be taken by tomorrow morning in a collegial manner by the concerned parties (Covid-19 event and team doctors, and the UCI Medical Director).
In order to combat the spread of Covid-19 in the most effective way, the organiser (ASO) of the Tour de France announced on 12 July that access to the teams’ paddocks is only allowed to UCI representatives, team staff and staff within the race organisation.
The UCI reminds all participants that the rules introduced over the last two years in the interests of everyone’s health and safety continue to apply. These include the obligation to wear a mask, to maintain sufficient physical distance and to disinfect hands frequently.”
Last week, Rafał Majka (UAE Team Emirates) was the second rider to return a positive test mid-race and then cleared to continue by the UCI medical director. Before the Tour de France got underway in Copenhagen, Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën) tested positive for the virus but was cleared to begin racing. Jungels later won stage nine that finished in Châtel.
Over the weekend, Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education- EasyPost) and Simon Clarke (Israel-PremierTech) were pulled from the race by their respective teams after returning positive tests for Covid.
Many will take this morning’s news cautiously for now. On Tuesday last week, it was announced that George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates) had returned a positive test as well as other riders meaning that they were also sent home.
Stage 16 on Tuesday will bring the first of three stages in the Pyrenees, it remains to be seen whether individual teams will discover positive cases amongst their ranks as the race continues.