Published on : 02/22/2021 – 4:35 PM
Cancellations of races and closed doorways, dotted calendar, groups pressured to withdraw… The Covid-19 pandemic poses a fixed menace to cycling.
It was a stroke of destiny for Mathieu van der Poel and his Alpecin-Fenix workforce. While the younger Dutch prodigy gained, on Sunday February 21, the primary stage of the UAE Tour – the Tour of the United Arab Emirates -, the primary date of the very best degree of the cycling season, his workforce needed to throw within the towel with out even compete within the second stage. In query: a constructive check for Covid-19 of a member of the workers. An illustration of the everlasting uncertainty by which the cycling world is evolving to proceed its journey regardless of the pandemic.
“The team was notified of a positive result in a member of the team after tests carried out on Sunday evening”, explains the press launch printed by Alpecin-Fenix on social networks. “In agreement with the organizers of the UAE Tour, we have therefore decided to withdraw our team to protect the health bubble and allow the race to continue.”
“After receiving the results, the person immediately went into solitary confinement, as did those who came into contact with this person,” the assertion added.
A menace hanging over each race
On Sunday, the French workforce Saint-Michel Auber 93 didn’t begin the third stage of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var after the analysis of a constructive case. The screening was “carried out in anticipation of the Drôme-Ardèche Loops” which ought to happen on February 27 and 28.
# Tour0683 : Following the analysis of a constructive case of Covid-19 inside our workforce, throughout a screening carried out this Saturday morning in anticipation of the Drome Ardèche Buckles, we determined to withdraw from the check. pic.twitter.com/rA8G4Oqq7s
– St Michel – Auber93 🍩 (@ Auber93Cyclisme) February 21, 2021
As half of a particular Covid-19 medical protocol from the International Cycling Union (UCI), groups have to be examined earlier than they will take part in races. The particular testing schedule relies on a workforce’s race schedule however usually consists of a six day check after which three days earlier than a race. In the occasion of a constructive check throughout a race, the workforce withdraws.
At the start of February, Belgian training Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise had to surrender “as a precaution” to take the beginning of the 51e version of the Étoile de Bessèges as a consequence of a case of Covid-19 in its administration workforce.
In a sport like cycling the place a runner’s season is measured out and organized from A to Z to optimize efficiency and peak kind, the Covid-19 turns into a puzzle to prepare the calendars of athletes: “The masters words, it’s agility, adaptation “, summarizes Jean-Baptiste Quiclet, efficiency director of AG2R-Citroën, interviewed by Le Monde on how the groups are coping with the pandemic. “It is at the end of spring that we will see if the runners have been unsettled by the fear of being late in their preparation,” he predicts.
This is the unhealthy journey suffered by the Slovak celebrity, Peter Sagan. Tested constructive for Covid-19 on January 29 throughout a coaching camp in Spain along with his brother Juraj and his teammate Erik Baska, the Slovak was positioned in solitary confinement for ten days, which delayed his preparation.
While he hoped to make his comeback in Belgium on the Het Nieuwsblad (February 27) and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne (February 28) Circuit, he had to surrender, not feeling “yet” ready.
The concern of cancellations
In addition to the constructive check, riders and groups additionally concern the cancellation of occasions. Since the start of January, the calendar has already been turned the wrong way up: the Australian races which historically mark the resumption of the World Tour have been canceled. Other organizers of smaller occasions are additionally falling by the wayside.
One-day (Denain GP) or stage races (Circuit de la Sarthe, Tour de Normandie) needed to be canceled in the beginning of 2021. Others will in all probability observe, of their very own doing or lack of authorizations. vital, for the reason that final phrase rests with the prefectural authority.
The Prefecture of Morbihan has issued an unfavorable opinion to the group of the Route Bretonne scheduled for Sunday, February 28 as a result of resurgence of instances of variant Covid-19 in Morbihan. The organizers are in search of a postponement date. pic.twitter.com/oSTTjyd3Jt
– Brittany Cycling Committee (@CyclismeBzh) February 18, 2021
The cycling Tour of Flanders, one of the 5 “monuments” of cycling scheduled for April 4, is in digicam to restrict the dangers. Like final yr, the general public will subsequently be banned within the begin and end areas, the mountains and the paved areas that are the salt of this main date on the calendar. All whereas praying that the well being state of affairs doesn’t deteriorate by then.
Arnaud Démare, the perfect French sprinter within the peloton (Groupama-FDJ), remains to be the one who greatest summed up the state of affairs by sharing his coaching program on his Instagram account: “Hoping that all this can take place.”