France passed a new law on Monday that will require all athletes competing in the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The law requires vaccination for all athletes and spectators who use public buildings, so its full impact one-day professional road, mountain, or cyclocross races is unknown. It is likely to impact multi-day races, including the Tour de France, more significantly.
The law effectively turns France’s Health Pass requirement, which allowed individuals to access public spaces with either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, into a Vaccine Pass. A negative COVID test alone will no longer be sufficient.
The French government has indicated that exceptions will not be made for athletes based outside France. The requirement, according to France’s health ministry, “applies to everyone, to volunteers and to elite sportspeople, including those coming from abroad, until further notice.”
The new law comes on the heels of the high-profile deportation of tennis player Novak Djokovic from Australia for breaking that country’s COVID rules. France’s sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, had previously indicated that events like the French Open could have a special exemption, but that no longer appears to be the case.
With the Tour de France and the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift still many months away, as well as a few week-long stage races that build-up to the Grand Tour, there is still time before we know the full impact this law will have on cycling. The law is expected to be enforced as of January 24th.
This story is ongoing.