UCI discloses Covid-19 protocols for return to racing
Jun 20 2020 10:50 pm CET

UCI discloses Covid-19 protocols for return to racing
UCI discloses Covid-19 protocols for return to racing
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The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has published a protocol detailing all procedures that have to be followed when racing returns.

On 14th of March at the seventh stage of Paris-Nice -a race that was stopped with one stage to go- the professional peloton rode for the last time before the coronavirus pandemic stopped not only the calendar but the entire world. The podium ceremony in which Bora-hansgrohe's Maximilian Schachmann received the trophy as winner of the French race, was possibly the last one of its kind in a long time.

The UCI has published a series of procedures that have to be followed when road cycling races return, and they include protocols for before, during and after the races. The document was based on the works of the World Health Organisation and an international task force set up by World Athletics and is the result of the collective work of a group led by UCI Medical Director Professor Xavier Bigard and including representatives of riders, teams, cycling's doctors and organisers, as well as CPA Women and Katerina Nash in her role of President of the UCI Athletes' Commission.

These measures are to be applied to all men's and women's road races registered in the UCI International Calendar. Every competition has to appoint a Covid-10 Coordinator, "a specialist in infectious diseases who is up to date with the directives put in place by the national authorities to ensure the security of sport events, and who regularly consults the pandemic status in the host country on the WHO website or on a dedicated national website. This person is responsible for determining the phase of the pandemic in the run-up to the competition, and is the advisor for the implementation of preventive measures."

The cycling governing body also introduces the concepts of 'team bubbles' and 'peloton bubbles' that will be closely monitored to avoid any crossed infections, each must have a doctor to perform Covid-19 tests and follow the questionnaires that have to be filled daily on the five days preceding the race. At racing days, every formation must have at their disposition a single floor (or a wing) of the hotel with an independent dining room.

Each team bubble has to avoid any contact with people whose health status has not been checked to try to avoid any infections when they join the 'peloton bubble' at the competition.

The UCI also recommends serological tests before the start of the competition period and in case any of riders getting a positive immune response, a certificate will be issued to authorise them to participate in events for the rest of the season without undertaking any further coronavirus controls. In races of more than 10 stages, it is also recommended undertaking several tests to all the parties involved.

Race organisers should also arrange separate pathways for different categories of personnel (media zone, official zones, VIP area), as well as communal areas accessible with accreditation to allow for physical distancing and ensure cleaning and disinfection of areas and equipment.

At the registration procedures the physical distancing should be respected and the feed zones should be adapted to comply with all national directives on social distancing and the presence of public should be forbidden.

Podium ceremonies will also have to change and include adjustments like the restriction of the number of athletes to be awarded at one time, the requirement to wear masks during the ceremony, the placement of the podium blocks should be 1.5 metres apart, the self-service of medals after hand satinising, the limitation of the number of photographers and of the size of crowds. The anti-doping procedures should also be adapted to guarantee the distances outside and inside the stations.

"This protocol of instructions and recommendations is fundamental, especially for the teams and organisers, with a view to the resumption of cycling races," said UCI President David Lappartient. "I am very pleased with the spirit of collaboration between the different members of the steering group led by Professor Bigard and their desire to find effective solutions which have enabled this document to be produced in little more than a month.

"These measures remain dependent on the laws and measures in the different host countries and may need to be adapted but this protocol is another step towards our sport's return to life. After the announcement of the calendars, we now have the framework which will enable riders to race again. We will now continue our work by adapting this protocol of actions for disciplines other than road, notably mountain bike, whose 2020 UCI World Cup will get under way in September."



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