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Tour de France given green light after rest day Covid test

Joe Robinson
8 Sep 2020

L'Equipe reports that all riders tested negative for coronavirus and can continue racing

The Tour de France has been the green light to continue after it was reported all riders returned negative Covid-19 tests on Monday's rest day despite race organiser Christian Prudhomme testing positive.

According to French newspaper L'Equipe, the ASO undertook 650 tests with all rider tests returning negative yet it was unable to confirm whether all team staff and members of the race organisation passed the test meaning the race will be able to continue on Tuesday with Stage 10 from île d'Oléron (Le Château-d'Oléron) to île de Ré (Saint-Martin-de-Ré).

This was then followed by wider reports that race organiser Prudhomme had tested positive for the virus alongside four team staff, all from separate teams. It was further reported that Prudhomme will now have to self-isolate for the next seven days, handing down his role to Francois Lemarchand.

The ASO then released its own press release confirming that four team members from Cofidis, AG2R La Mondiale, Ineos Grenadiers and Mitchelton-Scott and that one 'technical service provider' had tested positive and will now leave the race bubble.

'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,' the statement read.

'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.'

Tests were undertaken before Stage 9 to Pau by the Unilab mobile medical and then again on Monday's rest day in La Rochelle.

Earlier this morning, certain teams slowly confirmed the good news that their riders and team staff had tested negative for Covid-19 including the likes of Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma, the team of current yellow jersey wearer Primoz Roglic.

One team that had a slightly nervous morning was Deceuninck-QuickStep. It was reported earlier that a member of the team had been taken back this morning for a second test, with an ambulance arriving at the team hotel, however, the team confirmed it was due to an error at the laboratory.

'As you will have seen, it has been reported that a member of our team staff was collected from our team hotel this morning. An error was made in the laboratory with the sample that the individual gave yesterday, meaning they were taken for retesting this morning,' the statement said.

'The result of this second test has been returned as negative and we will continue to race as normal.'

The Tour resumes with a flat sprinters' stage to île de Ré, though it is a day that could be affected by crosswinds. It could also be decided by a dangerous parcours, according to Education First team manager Jonathan Vaughters who tweeted his concerns earlier today.

'Route for today’s #TDF2020 is incredibly dangerous. I mean, it’d be fine if the peloton were 25 riders, or if it were 1908 and the guys were all 20 minutes apart from each other. But it’s not.'

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