Covid-19 health protocol for road races: update for the Grand Tours
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has today published on its website an updated version of the "Rules for the organisation of road cycling competitions in the context of the coronavirus pandemic".
This health protocol was drawn up by a steering group under the responsibility of the UCI Medical Director, Professor Xavier Bigard, and composed of representatives of riders, teams, team doctors and organisers. It has been regularly updated in line with developments since it was first introduced in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Today's changes to the protocol, which had been last updated on 24 January 2022, mainly concern the Grand Tours, and respond to the need to reinforce medical surveillance of the peloton, team personnel and officials in the face of a changing epidemiological situation characterised by an increase in the number of positive Covid-19 cases recently reported.
Among the main new provisions of the protocol, some are mandatory and others are strongly recommended.
The mandatory measures are as follows:
two days before the start of the race, presentation of at least one negative antigen test for all members of the teams (riders and staff);
on the rest days of the event (with the exception of any transfer days), a Covid-19 antigen test for all team members (riders and staff), as well as for Commissaires (International and National), UCI Technical Delegates and anti-doping control personnel.
In the event a case of Covid-19 within a team is confirmed by an antigen test then by a PCR test (whether a rider or a member of staff), the decision to potentially isolate the case shall be taken collectively by the team doctor concerned, the Covid-19 doctor for the event and the UCI Medical Director, on the basis of the clinical elements available.
Strongly-recommended measures are as follows:
during the five days preceding the race, daily antigen tests for all team members (riders and staff) in order to verify nobody is carrying the virus, which is essential for the constitution of the team bubble and the peloton bubble;
during the race - if possible daily but at least every two to three days -, antigen tests for team members (except riders), Commissaires (International and National), UCI Technical Delegates and anti-doping control personnel.
Moreover, the rule that authorised the organiser to withdraw from the race any team that had two or more riders returning positive Covid-19 PCR tests within seven days is dropped.
The full updated Covid-19 2022 road race health protocol is available here.
The UCI and its partners remind all participants in road events on the UCI International Calendar 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.
UCI President David Lappartient said: "In view of the evolution of the international health situation and on the eve of the Tour de France, it has become necessary to reinforce the measures in force to ensure that the cycling events on our International Calendar can be held successfully and to protect the health of those present at the races. Even if the situation we are currently experiencing with the pandemic is less worrying than the one we saw at the height of the health crisis, we must remain vigilant. With this in mind, I call on all parties concerned to continue to scrupulously respect all the provisions of our health protocols. This discipline and solidarity have enabled us to maintain our activities over the past two years and will enable us to cope should the pandemic worsen in the future.”
The original press release can be found here : https://www.uci.org/pressrelease/covid-19-health-protocol-for-road-races-update-for-the-grand-tours/4026XA0Oq7ySwH0aUPiPL5