Cycling and health emergency: one month after coming back to international Tours, teams and medical staff will have to learn how to manage the medical procedures imposed by UCI. The various teams are still waiting for the final protocols and directives regarding what could happen if a case of cyclist positive to the virus emerged during a race.
UCI has published a document, Reopening of the road cycling season in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic. The document was created by Xavier Bigard, UCI medical director: into it there are information on the assessment of the pre-race risk, the creation of protective bubbles for teams and groups, pre-race tests against the virus, and social distancing.
Obviously as in many other sports there are precise safety protocols to be followed, in order not to jeopardize the health of athletes and team members, as well as for the staff and organizers of the Tours.
But what could happen if a suspected Covid-19 case emerged in a team
A case of Coronavirus during the Tour de France could mean the stop of the race.
But for now, UCI and the race organizers have not released any procedures or protocols about what could happen. Board of cycling said: "The management of clinical cases will be carried out in accordance with the local health service and in accordance with guidelines."
However, it is not yet known exactly what could or could not happen if the virus is positive. Among the various suggestions were the withdrawal and isolation of the individual athlete or staff member, or even the withdrawal of the team during the race.
In addition, each organizer has a duty to inform the teams of the rules in the country at least two weeks before the start of the competition. In France, a rigorous fourteen-day quarantine must be respected for anyone who has come into contact with a suspected coronavirus case.
As for cycling, there would be around176 runners and around 200 staff members, plus event organizers, the media and others.
The teams are doing their utmost to comply with the UCI protocol on pre-race anti-virus texts. In some countries, RT-PCR swab tests can only be performed by public health services if a Covid-19 case is suspected, or if someone shows symptoms.
Large Tours are likely to create mobile test units for mandatory tests on rest days. Teams are organizing to find private test labs near the races in Europe. Cyclists may have to go to the races two or three days in advance to make sure they are tested. Without a test result, cyclists cannot run.