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One day out from the start of the race, the UCI has updated its COVID-19 testing protocols for the Tour de France after concerns from teams about the impact of false positives.
The new protocol includes two key changes. First, an entire team will now only be removed from the race if two riders test positive for COVID-19 within a seven day period. Initially, the measure called for a team’s removal if any two individuals, riders or staff, tested positive.
Additionally, organizers will now be required to “do everything possible – but without being liable” to carry out followup tests after a positive result in an attempt to confirm that initial positives are not false positives. The ASO has a mobile testing unit at the race that will work to provide test results in two hours or less.
If, for whatever reason, a followup test can not be completed in time before the start of another stage at the race, the individual will still be removed.
The adjustments made today to the UCI protocol have enabled us to find the right balance between the legitimate concerns of teams faced with the risk of exclusion and the vital preservation of the peloton’s health,” said UCI president David Lappartient in a statement.
“I call on all cycling’s families, in particular the riders and teams, to continue acting with the same sense of responsibility and united spirit that they have demonstrated since racing resumed.”