Cofidis leader Guillaume Martin is a non-starter on stage 9 of the Tour de France after testing positive for COVID-19.
The team’s announcement sheds some light on the official protocols in place at the Tour de France.
“After a double positive test carried out this Saturday internally by the team doctor on Guillaume Martin, the Cofidis staff contacted the UCI and ASO,” the team statement reads. “A PCR test carried out urgently this Sunday morning by the ASO mobile unit confirmed its positivity. In accordance with the regulations and in agreement with the UCI and ASO doctors, Guillaume Martin will not take the start of the 9th stage.
“The other Cofidis runners and the entire staff were also tested and their results were all negative. The team will carry out a new mandatory test at the end of the rest day, in accordance with the protocol put in place by ASO.”
A concurrent official statement was released by the UCI on the morning of stage 9:
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that Guillaume Martin (FRA) from the Cofidis team will not be starting the 9th stage of the Tour de France 2022, due to the application of the Covid-19 health protocol put in place by the UCI.
“The decision was taken in a collegial manner by the concerned team doctor, the Covid-19 doctor for the event and the UCI Medical Director, on the basis of the available clinical elements.
“The UCI and its partners remind all participants in road races 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.”
Covid-related rules and regulations are much less strict than they used to be, but after Saturday’s withdrawal of Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-Citroën), precautions are tightening throughout the peloton as anxiety builds around the virus’s potential to affect the outcome of the Tour de France.