The big names of the cycling world will be on the start line of the Route of Occitania, 1 August, kick-off the cycling season in France after the time of death be imposed on the riders because of the pandemic of sars coronavirus.Runners cyclists on the Road Occitania in 2019. Photo illustration. (LAURENT DARD / MAXPPP)
This is the first official competition post-containment in France. To a month of the Tour de France 2020, Chris Froome, Egan Bernal, Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet and the champion of France Warren Barguil will be at the start of the Road of Occitania, Saturday, 1st August. In total, 21 teams will take the start of the first stage of 187 km to Saint-Affrique to join Cazoul-les-Béziers (Hérault).
A recovery in a very special climate. The teams are going to be living almost in autarky for four days and minimize the contacts with the outside world.
Prohibition of approaching riders
No contact will be possible with the public. The start and finish, the spectators will be carefully kept away. The coaches of the teams will be surrounded by barriers. It will then be forbidden to approach, take selfies, requesting autographs, and even impossible to retrieve a water bottle. Same for the press : the relationship with the riders will be restricted to the minimum and only at a good distance, with a mask.
On the run, the mask will be mandatory for the journalists, followers and organizers. For their part, the runners will be of the descent of the bus up to the starting line, they will slip in the pocket of their jersey, to begin the race.
Test mandatory before any
To be able to evolve in a platoon, and spend the day touching, all the runners will pass a test Covid-19, which must prove negative. This is the condition to be able to ride together without a mask. The members of the staffs, physiotherapists, mechanics, sport directors, are also all tracked, and if there is the slightest suspicion, the riders will be able to be excluded, even if they are found to be negative later, and this regardless of the position in the general classification. For Roman Caubin, the race director, it is the foremost health. “The least suspected case of Covid will be out of the race, whether in the organization, the followers, or on teams, riders, or staff, he says. There are more stars at this level.” The race director even adds that “even in case of negative test, a person with symptoms is excluded, and the case contacts will also be isolated.”
It is a problem of public health, protection of the peloton, the race and all the regions that it crosses.Roman Caubin, director of the Road Occitanieà franceinfo
Some teams take the same precautions to the maximum. The team Ineos of Chris Froome and Egan Bernal has called for individual rooms for each rider, so that they usually slept two in a room.
For the public, it will remain possible to install at the edge of the road to watch the riders in condition to keep his distance, and not to create a collection of 5 000 people. If this is the case in the Pyrenees, the race will limit the access in some passes.