Following the final round of Covid-19 tests, Tour de France organizers were in exultant mood Tuesday morning when announcing that all of the racers were negative for the virus. With 5 stages left to race no rider has tested positive for coronavirus so far, with the world’s greatest cycling race on schedule to parade up the Champs Elysees in Paris on Sunday.
The news marks a success with organizer ASO who will claim the race has provided a blueprint in how to stage a major sports event in the middle of a pandemic.
“We can only rejoice as this means our measures were a success,” race director Christian Prudhomme said at the stage 16 start town of La Tour du Pin.
“We are faced with a virus that killed 30,000 people (in France) in the spring. We took the measures we had to…Everyone says the pandemic is going to stick around, it’s imperative we continue to live our lives. When people respect the rules and pay attention, it works.”
Prudhomme was back at the race after a week’s quarantine following his positive test last week.
The announcement was a huge relief for the teams who risked being thrown off the Tour in case of two positives within their entourage.
Around 700 tests were taken Sunday and Monday by a mobile testing unit. Staging this race was crucial for the immediate future of the sport due to the worldwide broadcasting of the event meaning cycling garnered most of its income for advertising during the three week extravaganza.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini