Saint-Martin-de-Ré (dpa) – In the bright red limousine of the tour direction with number 1, the most prominent prisoner was missing.
Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme, of all people, who repeatedly urged drivers to adhere to corona rules and campaigned for strict rules, tested positive for the virus and had to leave the race. Organizer ASO announced this. In contrast, the controls of all 166 drivers still in the race were negative around the first day of rest. Only four members of the supervisory staff from the 22 teams stood out in the 841 PCR tests. The people left the tour entourage, things had no further consequences.
For now, Prudhomme will no longer be waving the flag at the start of the stages. “I am leaving the tour for eight days. I will behave like any French employee in such a case,” said the former journalist from the AFP news agency. Prudhomme emphasized that he had no contact with the drivers and that he did not belong to the so-called bubble. “The drivers live like monk soldiers, that’s not the case with me.” According to Prudhomme, who will be replaced by François Lemarchand, he has met many guests and managers because of his role.
It is interesting that the French Prime Minister Jean Castex only took place on the Pyrenees podium in Prudhomme’s car on Saturday. During the Tour de France, it is common for the country’s main politicians to make regular detours to the national sanctuary of France. Head of state Emmanuel Macron was not there this year. For Castex, cabinet meetings will initially only take place via video conference, Macron made clear. The minister will be tested immediately, he said from the Elysée Palace.
The drivers had done this on Monday around the first day of rest. There was serious concern that after more than a week, large areas of the driver’s field would have become contaminated. Because the number of infections has risen rapidly in France and on some climbs such as on Sunday on the Col de Pyresourde, the fans – many without masks – formed a narrow line for the drivers.
The concerns were unfounded, the platoon strictly adhered to the measures and is completely negative. However, the four supervisors of the positively tested teams of top drivers Egan Bernal (Ineos-Grenadiers), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) are a direct threat. Should a second incident occur in the respective teams in the coming days, the race teams will be excluded.
According to the rules, two positive cases in a team lead to the exclusion of the entire team within seven days. A team not only includes the eight drivers, but also the immediate environment such as supervisors, physiotherapists or sports directors.
Until now, the teams have taken the tour in a so-called bubble. There were strict rules such as wearing masks at registration, on the bus, in the hotel and at the awards ceremony. To this end, the athletes were medically monitored and examined for symptoms on a daily basis. Only in the race there were no restrictions.
On Tuesday there was tension at the Belgian cycling team Deceuninck-Quick Step about a suspicious sample of an employee. This was picked up in the morning by ambulance. However, the post-test turned out to be negative. “We will continue with the race,” said the team around French star Julian Alaphilippe. Prudhomme could not say that about himself.