It is a feeling of relief that runs through the Tour de France caravan this Tuesday morning. No team is excluded from the race after the verdict of the second PCR tests carried out during the second rest stage on Monday.
The entire peloton was authorized to leave for the 16th stage (La Tour-du-Pin and Villard-de-Lans, 164 km), after negative results in tests for the detection of Covid-19. No case, neither with the riders nor with the members of the teams, was revealed. “The teams played the game perfectly, everything went well. The results are negative and it’s a big sigh of relief. Everything’s fine, ”a member of ASO told us.
Sword of Damocles
This means that the Tour de France will go well until its conclusion in Paris next Sunday. It was his greatest anguish at the time of the Grand Départ in Nice on August 29: the Covid let a permanent sword of Damocles hang over the smooth running of the race. Remember that the rule was simple and drastic. If, over a period of seven days, a team had in its ranks two members out of thirty (runners and staff included) positive for the coronavirus, this team immediately took the door of the Grande Boucle. This whatever his status and the classification of his riders in the general.
A week ago, four teams had revealed a positive test among their management: Ineos, AG2R, Cofidis and Mitchelton. No runner had been hit. These teams were not, however, under the threat of a single retest, the counters having been reset to zero. Like the others, it would have taken two positive cases in their ranks to get home.
As in the previous week at the time of the first resting stage in Charente-Maritime, the PCR tests were carried out in two waves. A first led 315 team members – riders and staff – to do them before the start in Lyon, in the Gerland sports center. The other half of the peloton and the followers took on Monday morning the direction of the Jeannie Longo sports hall in Sassenage (Isère), at the dawn of the second day of rest.