via Associated Press
CYCLING – The noose of the Covid-19 has tightened a little more around the yellow jersey of the Tour de France, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, who lost this Tuesday July 12 for this reason a second teammate, the New Zealander George Bennett , before the 10th stage in Morzine.
Pogacar had already seen the departure, this Saturday July 9, of the Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen within the UAE formation which had eight riders at the start of the event like its rivals.
The day after the announcement of all negative tests, this Sunday, for the competitors of the Tour, two riders had the opposite result. Australian Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange), who has mild symptoms, also left the race.
The French Geoffrey Bouchard and Guillaume Martin had to leave the Tour for this reason last weekend.
In addition to the regulatory controls carried out by the International Cycling Union (UCI), in accordance with the protocol revised at the end of June, the various teams frequently carry out internal tests. Every day for some, at intervals of two or three days for others.
“The Covid can ruin everything”
“We test ourselves every three days, some even every two days, declared Pogacar, this Saturday, after the departure from Laengen. It is truly a worrying situation. The Covid can ruin everything on the Tour.”
“This pandemic is here and unfortunately we are not spared, estimated the yellow jersey and favorite of the Tour. We can’t risk running sick so we have to take this seriously. We are on the road every day. In the mountains, there are many people shouting encouragement. It’s something I really like, but it increases the chances of getting infected with the virus.
Following the cascade of abandonments recorded at the Tour de Suisse in mid-June, the anti-Covid protocol was updated before the start of the Tour by the International Cycling Union (UCI). In the event of a positive result, the protocol provides that “the decision on possible isolation will be taken collectively by the doctor of the team concerned, the Covid-19 doctor of the event and the medical director of the UCI”.
After the first cases, several team bosses, in particular Marc Madiot (Groupama-FDJ), asked the organizers for additional measures to reduce the risks.
Before the start from Copenhagen, the director of the Tour Christian Prudhomme had invited the runners of the Tour to avoid autographs and selfies, but, on the Tour, wearing a mask is only compulsory for accredited people who have to deal with the runners.
“There is a gap between life in general, with people who put the Covid a little behind, and the need to be more careful on the Tour”, recognized the director of the Tour, this Monday, during the day of rest . If teams are calling for stricter measures, their daily guests are far from all wearing a mask, noted this Saturday, an AFP journalist present at the race.
See also on The HuffPost: The stages of the Tour de France 2022 not to be missed