1 How many runners are affected?
Officially, three (Jeffrey Bouchard, Norway Langen and Guillaume Martin, on Sunday morning, were not allowed to go back on the road). But unofficially? At the start of Morzine on Tuesday, at the end of stage 9, we will adjust as all riders (and followers) are tested on Sunday. Everyone is obviously afraid of punishment.
As a reminder, the International Cycling Union (UCI) relaxed its Covid protocol before the kick-off in Copenhagen, taking into account what happened in Switzerland (see below): an asymptomatic runner is no longer automatically forced to leave. “The decision on possible isolation is made jointly by the doctor of the relevant team, the Covid-19 doctor of the event and the medical director of the UCI, based on the available medical elements”, thus provide the new regulations.
Apart from a sore throat, Guillaume Martin showed no vital symptoms (see elsewhere) but because he was positive and his infection index (CT) was high, he was not allowed to leave.
2. What happened at the Tour de Suisse?
Coincidentally, the Tour 2022 stops in Switzerland this weekend. On the roads of the National Tour, a veritable carnage was unleashed… half of the peloton in June. 76 runners (out of 152) completed the race on June 21. Unlucky for Boggar, general classification leader Alexander Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) had to leave the race after testing positive. On the day, the entire Alpecin-Fenix, UAE- Team Emirates and Bahrain-Victorious crews took to the wheel for the day.
“They took the precaution of taking teams out because there were not 30 or 40 cases, but one or two cases per team,” UCI president David Lappardient recalled on Sunday. I don’t care that much. Now, in the fields, everything that goes around requires intensity. We must redouble our vigilance to the end. I have spoken to Christian Prudhomme (Tour director) about this and the screw will be given an extra twist,” he said.
3. How do the runners and staff behave?
Of course, they care. Too worried, too. “Covid can destroy everything on the tour”, acknowledged Dadej Bhokar, who has already lost a teammate (Langan). It hangs in our faces. This may be the last time you see me at the opening,” said Romain Bardet at the microphone of RMC.
“It’s a lottery, one of the mysteries of this Tour 2022,” said AG2R-Citroën’s sporting director Julien Jourdi. “The riders must be in Paris in this Tour and we cannot deny the efforts we are making,” said Jean-René Bernadeau, manager of Total Energies, who has sacked one of his sporting directors. “It’s scary, we’re not immune to having symptoms. We have to live with it. It’s unfortunate, these are the rules of the game,” said overall first French rider David Gaudu.
Marc Madiot, manager of Groupama-FDJ, has invented a nickname for covid-19, which he calls “gangrene”. “If there is gangrene, it spreads quickly. For the past two years, everyone has been in a state of uncertainty. Everyone noticed. Today, there are almost no more obligations, for the population, there are not many rules, which is logical and normal,” he regrets.
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