FILE- In this Aug. 29, 2020, file photo Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, center, wears a face mask as he attends the start of the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Nice, southern France, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. Organizers announced that Prudhomme tested positive after taking a COVID-19 test, without providing further details. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

FILE- In this Aug. 29, 2020, file photo Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, center, wears a face mask as he attends the start of the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Nice, southern France, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020. Organizers announced that Prudhomme tested positive after taking a COVID-19 test, without providing further details. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

Remaining Tour riders cleared of virus but not director

Next wave of tests on Sept. 14

The remaining Tour de France riders were cleared to continue racing ahead of Tuesday’s Stage 10 after undergoing COVID-19 tests, but the Tour director tested positive and left the race.

Less than two hours before the stage started, Tour organizers and cycling governing body the UCI said all of the riders’ tests performed over the past two days returned negative. However, they announced that director Christian Prudhomme tested positive along with four staff members from four different teams who have been dropped from the race bubble.

The four staff who tested positive work for Cofidis, AG2R La Mondiale, defending champion Egan Bernal’s Inos Grenadiers and Mitchelton Scott, meaning those four squads were at greater risk of being excluded.

Under the race’s health protocols, anyone who tests positive has to leave the race and any team with two or more positive tests — either rider or staff — within seven days also has to abandon.

Prudhomme’s positive test might have an impact on French political affairs as it came only days after he spent two hours in his car following a stage in the Pyrenees in the company of Prime Minister Jean Castex.

As a result, French President Emmanuel Macron said a government meeting scheduled on Wednesday will be organized via videoconference, or postponed.

Speaking to France Info radio, Prudhomme said he does not have virus symptoms, adding that he will stay in isolation for seven days.

“Obviously the most important thing is that not a single rider tested positive,” Prudhomme said. “I did not come close to the riders over the past 10 days, we can see now how important it was to stay away from them.”

Organizers said 841 tests were performed on riders and team members, with most of the riders tested during the first rest day on Monday. The next wave of tests will be during the next rest day on Sept. 14.

Under threat of cancellation at some point — more than 30,000 people in France have died after contracting the coronavirus — the Tour has been salvaged by pushing it back from its traditional July date to the end of the summer. The price paid for the race to be run are strict health protocols which include mandatory testing for riders and team staff on rest days.

All were tested before the Tour started in Nice and have since lived in the race bubble, making sure they stay away from fans and sponsors usually omnipresent during the race’s three weeks.

To avoid false positive results that could rule healthy riders out of contention, Tour organizers perform a retest and a blood analysis as quickly as possible in case of a positive test. They have set up a mobile coronavirus lab that can produce results in two hours.

Following Sunday’s stage in the Pyrenees, where Primoz Roglic of Slovenia seized the yellow jersey, the 22 Tour teams travelled by bus to the western Charente region.

The race resumed on Tuesday with a flat stage linking two islands, the Ile d’Oleron and the Ile de Re. Only 165 riders took the start after Domenico Pozzovivo of Italy quit. He said he did not recover from a crash on Stage 1 and hopes to return at the Giro d’Italia.

Roglic leads defending champion Egan Bernal by 21 seconds. Frenchman Guillaume Martin was in third place, 28 seconds off the pace.

By The Associated Press

Cycling

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP MP Heather McPherson pictured in Edmonton on Friday, March 6, 2020. Alberta’s legislature may have been silenced but its partisan warfare has relocated to the House of Commons as MPs hold an emergency debate tonight on the province’s soaring COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney under fire during Commons emergency debate on Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

Edmonton New Democrat MP says Kenney ignored the evidence of science

An electric car is seen getting charged at parking lot in Tsawwassen, near Vancouver, Friday, April, 6, 2018. Should Canada introduce a national mandate requiring the auto industry make or sell more zero-emission vehicles is a question facing the Liberal government as it’s not on the road to meet its own sales targets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Should Canada mandate sales targets for electric vehicles? Report says ‘yes’

Parliamentary committee studied how to incentivize the purchase and production of electric vehicles

A Torrington School music program is one of 95 beneficiaries across the country of grants from MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity. (Black Press file photo).
Torrington music program gets grant to purchase instruments

A Torrington school will be able to replace worn out band instruments… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Restrictions are a crime against humanity

I was distressed to note the seemingly superficial understanding of the holocaust… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Follow restrictions so pandemic can be behind us

From one who feels that COVID could have been overcome long ago… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Westerner needs help now

I have spent the last few days sifting through many pieces of… Continue reading

Jets beat Flames 4-0 to snap seven-game losing streak and clinch playoff spot

Jets beat Flames 4-0 to snap seven-game losing streak and clinch playoff spot

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson, left, directs her teammates, lead Briane Meilleur, right, and second Shannon Birchard, against Estonia at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, May 5, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson extends win streak to four games at world curling playdowns

Canada’s Einarson extends win streak to four games at world curling playdowns

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy, left, talks with midfielder Lassi Lappalainen during the second half of an MLS soccer match against Columbus Crew, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Canadian MLS teams try to make best of relocation

Canadian MLS teams try to make best of relocation

Damian Warner, of Canada bronze, smiles during the medal ceremony for the decathlon at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Nariman El-Mofty
Decathlete Damian Warner says being a dad has brought balance and new perspective

Decathlete Damian Warner says being a dad has brought balance and new perspective

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gestures rounding third base after hitting his third home run against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, April 27, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Blue Jays shuffling back to Buffalo starting June 1

Blue Jays shuffling back to Buffalo starting June 1

Most Read