Tour de France riders who test positive for COVID-19 won’t be automatically expelled from the race, cycling’s governing body said Wednesday.
The International Cycling Union said the health risks linked to the coronavirus “are currently extremely low in the peloton” because of the immunity induced by a very high rate of vaccination, or previous infections riders and staff members might have contracted.
Health passes, vaccination certificates or negative COVID-19 tests prior to participation in competitions are no longer required this season. If a rider or a team member tests positive for the virus, the decision to exclude, or isolate them, will be taken collectively by the team’s doctor, the Tour de France coronavirus coordinator and the UCI medical director “on the basis of the clinical elements available and the results of the COVID-19 test.”
Earlier this season, Giro d’Italia leader and race favorite Remco Evenepoel withdrew after testing positive for the coronavirus. Other riders also abandoned after returning positive tests, including Domenico Pozzovivo and Rigoberto Uran.
The cycling federation said coronavirus cases reported in France are very low, adding that the preventive measures implemented by Tour organizers limiting access and requiring masks in specific zones are adequate.
“The rules introduced over the last three years in the interests of everyone’s health and safety should continue to apply,” the UCI said. “These include maintaining sufficient physical distance, frequently disinfecting hands and regularly airing enclosed spaces.”