UCI EASES COVID-19 PROTOCOL, 89% OF PELOTON VACCINATED
The UCI announced an easing of Covid-19 health protocols for the 2022 season because of the good vaccination coverage of the peloton and team monitoring. The UCI stressed, however, that “when the national laws of the host country of an event are more stringent than the UCI rules, the former takes precedence”.
“If national laws are less stringent, it is the UCI regulations that will apply,” added the international federation.
Dr Xavier Bigard, medical director of the UCI, told AFP the changes “take into consideration the favorable evolution of vaccination coverage, the dangerousness of the last variant, and the application for two years of perfectly followed safety rules which have resulted in a certain success”.
The easing of constraints relates in particular to the number of PCR tests which competitors and team staff must undergo.
“A correctly vaccinated rider will have about 15 tests to do in the year which is a reduction of three or four times the amount compared to last year,” continued Bigard, pointing out that almost 89 percent of riders and team members have been vaccinated.
“For the past year there have been very few cases of the virus in cycling, no hospitalisations or serious experiences,” Bigard added.
“If by luck in 2022, it turns out that we have less than 15 to 20 Covid cases per 100,000 inhabitants in all countries, that would mean that the pandemic is behind us and in this case we will take a decision to delete the protocol.”
2022 UCI Covid-19 Protocol Update
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today published an updated Covid-19 health protocol applicable to men’s and women’s road competitions registered on the 2022 UCI International Calendar.
The updated health protocol will come into effect on 24 January 2022. The protocol applies to road events of all classes: UCI WorldTour, UCI Women’s WorldTour, UCI ProSeries, Continental Championships, UCI World Championships, UCI Nations’ Cups, Class 1 and Class 2 events.
The health protocol for road races was established by a steering group headed up by the UCI Medical Director, Professor Xavier Bigard and comprising representatives of the riders, teams, team doctors and organisers. It has been regularly updated in line with the evolving situation since it was first introduced in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Broadly similar to the 2021 health protocol, which proved extremely effective, the 2022 version places emphasis on national regulations, vaccination levels and individual prevention measures.
For 2022, the UCI and its partners in the steering group underline the fact that when national laws in an event’s host country are stricter than the UCI’s rules, it is the country’s laws that take precedence. However, if the national laws are less strict, the UCI’s rules will apply. Teams are encouraged to ensure as many riders in the peloton as possible are vaccinated, and the third dose of the vaccine is strongly recommended.
In 2022, the requirements for entry into team bubbles will differ according to the type of event:
- One-day races and short stage races (fewer than seven stages)
- fully vaccinated
- or a negative PCR test dated less than two days previously – PCR salivary tests are permitted but antigen tests are not.
- Stage races of seven stages or longer
- a negative PCR test dated less than two days previously regardless of whether the person is vaccinated or not
- intermediate PCR tests will be conducted during the Grands Tours.
These requirements also apply to riders, UCI personnel, Commissaires, anti-doping officials, medical team, organisers and media.
The UCI and its partners remind everyone at road events 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, maintaining social distancing and frequent disinfection of hands.
The Covid protocols for the other cycling disciplines will be updated in the near future and made available on the UCI website.
UCI President David Lappartient said: “I would like to thank all members of the steering group for its collaboration and hard work in the health interests of everyone at events on the UCI Road International Calendar. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to cause suffering and disruption, but as we have demonstrated over the last two years, cycling is capable of maintaining its activities thanks to the responsible actions of all our stakeholders. I sincerely hope that these uncertain times will soon be behind us, but in the meantime I am confident that, thanks to the spirit of solidarity within the cycling family, our sport will continue to thrive.”
The full 2022 Covid-19 health protocol for road events is available here.
The UCI has also published one additional document which can also be consulted on the UCI website: Recent scientific knowledge supporting the adaptation of rules for the organization of road cycling competitions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini