Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme has returned a positive test for Covid-19, according to media reports.
Coming in the midst of the delayed premier event of the race calendar, Prudhomme’s positive result came on the back of a swab test of 650 race officials, riders and support staff on Monday’s rest day.
Both France and Spain have seen Covid-19 return with a vengeance with positive tests reaching levels not seen since spring peak. The Tour de France website has outlined differences in the way this year’s race will run, with limited attendance, enhanced cleaning measures and distancing promoted. As such, riders will not be signing autographs or taking selfies. Crowds are asked to stay well clear of riders on route, dampening the often festival like atmosphere road side.
“The testing campaign revealed that Christian Prudhomme has tested positive for Covid-19. The director of the Tour will now quarantine for seven days,” said race promoters the ASO in a statement. “Although he was not part of the ‘race bubble’ and had not been in direct contact with any of the riders and their entourage, Christian Prudhomme still decided to get tested.”
Concern for the French Prime Minister, who was a guest in Prudhomme’s car over the weekend as the Tour passed through the Loudenville region of the Pyrenees, are now growing. The Prime Minister will now receive a fresh test, with a spokesperson stating that despite the close proximity social distancing and mask wearing had been observed.
The 2020 Tour’s legacy has been called into question before the race director’s positive result. Thus far support staff with four teams have tested positive and, with a new “two strikes and out” rule in place, Ineos Grenadiers, Michleton-Scott, Cofidis and AG2R are at risk of a premature departure if another test returns positive inside seven days.
Sir David Brailsford’s Ineos Grenadiers have taken precautions to separate riders and staff wherever possible, bringing a secondary chef along for the ride in order that meal time gatherings can be divided with ease.