Tour organisers to preside over team withdrawals as UCI 're-evaluates' COVID-19 regulations

By Sports Desk August 28, 2020

Tour de France organisers will decide if a team is withdrawn from the race after two confirmed coronavirus cases, the UCI said after changing its regulations.

The 2020 Tour begins on Saturday, yet competitors had been concerned by the threat of hasty removals in the event of positive COVID-19 tests.

The initial regulations stated an entire team and its staff would be expelled from the Tour if it had two individuals contract the virus.

But the UCI announced on Friday its rules had been "re-evaluated" for the Grand Tours, instead allowing race organisers to make the call.

Its update stated: "In the case of two or more riders from the same team testing positive for COVID-19 within a period of seven days at a Grand Tour, the UCI will give the event organiser authorisation to announce the withdrawal of the team for health reasons, on the condition, however, that the global medical assessment carried out confirm the positive cases."

The UCI has sought to ensure false positive tests do not rule riders or teams out of action as it calls for "complementary examinations" if initial results suggest a confirmed case.

"In the case of a positive test for COVID-19 during a Grand Tour, the organiser must do everything possible – but without being liable – to proceed as far as possible with a complementary test and a serological analysis before the following stage," the UCI said.

"These complementary examinations will be a very useful additional element in the global medical assessment, which will make it possible to evaluate the contagious character or not of the rider (or team member) and which will enable the regulatory measures to be applied."

If a rider or team member is confirmed positive for coronavirus or cannot carry out a second test, they "will be isolated according to the health regulations and will leave the event in question".

The UCI explained these adjustments "come from the desire to optimise the interpretation of a positive viral diagnostic test and confirm that it indeed corresponds with a recent coronavirus infection".

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