Home International News COVID cases put cycling ahead of Tour de France: NPR

COVID cases put cycling ahead of Tour de France: NPR

Cyclist Aleksandr Vlasov led the Tour de Suisse before a positive coronavirus test forced him to abandon the race – a fate shared by many other riders. Vlasov can be seen here in March, during the Paris-Nice race.

Francois Mori / AP

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Francois Mori / AP


Cyclist Aleksandr Vlasov led the Tour de Suisse before a positive coronavirus test forced him to abandon the race – a fate shared by many other riders. Vlasov can be seen here in March, during the Paris-Nice race.

Francois Mori / AP

Two races that should be adapted to the Tour de France instead raise concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on cycling’s biggest event, with dozens of riders having to withdraw due to positive tests.

“It’s just crazy,” Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas said in the Tour de Suisse on Friday. “I thought this was all behind us now.”

A mass exodus includes the sport’s top riders

About 30 riders left the Tour de Suisse on Friday alone, including race leader Aleksandr Vlasov of the Bora-Hansgrohe team – who won Thursday’s stage. Several teams withdrew their entire squads.

The sudden exits were the talk of the bus ride to the start of Friday’s stage, Thomas said: “This rider out; that rider out; this team; the whole team; another whole team.”

“Despite all the precautions, corona has crept back into the team,” said the Dutch Jumbo-Visma, which withdrew on Thursday. said via Twitter

In addition to Vlasov, some of cycling’s most famous names are also leaving, such as Adam Yates, Rui Costa, Marc Hirschi, Rigoberto Urán and Tom Pidcock.

Business breakout makes teams feel nervous

“It’s a bloodbath!” French news channel Ouest France stated as news of the positive tests spread.

“Everyone has the jitters,” sports director Philippe Mauduit of the Groupama-FDJ team told Ouest France. His team is crossing his fingers, he said, adding that he now sees more people wearing masks.

Thomas said he will continue to ride in the Tour de Suisse, but there is no guarantee that the race will end as planned: the organizers said they will “monitor further developments and reassess the situation together on Saturday morning.”

The abrupt exits are another reminder that the pandemic is not over – and similar scenes play out on a smaller scale at the Tour of Slovenia, where defending Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar won Friday’s stage despite losing two teammates by positive coronavirus tests.

The Tour de France will start in Denmark this year

The 2022 Tour de France kicks off in Copenhagen on July 1, expanding the footprint of a race that expands from the north to the south of France this year.

According to Cycling Weekly, at least one team official has called on the organizers of the French race to reintroduce a tight bubble and other COVID-19 protocols.

France has reported the most cases of COVID-19 in Europe, with more than 30 million. Transmission rates have risen across Europe this month, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, although the agency notes that death rates have continued to fall.

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