Runners want to protect their “bubble”. Sunday, the ninth stage of the Tour de France between Pau and Laruns, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, again gathered many unmasked spectators along the route. The prefecture, which “Observes that the risk of deterioration of the epidemiological situation is accentuated in the municipality of Pau” due to a large tourist influx, however, had made it mandatory to wear a mask. Jean Lassalle, Member of Parliament (Freedom and Territories) of the department, appeared with a piece of cloth, although limited to the lips with the nose protruding.
Saturday, many runners had denounced the non-respect of the wearing of the mask and the barrier gestures along the road, in particular in the pass of Peyresourde, between Cazères-sur-Garonne (Haute-Garonne) and Loudenvielle (Hautes-Pyrénées) . The Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, teammate of the Primoz Roglic yellow jersey at Jumbo-Visma, declared: “We hope to finish the Tour de France, so we can’t have people screaming without a mask. Being masked and especially keeping your distance is the most important. It’s unfortunate for the fans, but that’s how it is. “ His teammate Wout van Aert was even more annoyed: “We would have thought we were in 2019, and not in 2020, drew the Belgian. Normally it’s fantastic to go through a tide of people like this, but now it scares me. Masks should at least be mandatory. ”
On Twitter, the Spanish team Movistar posted a photo where we can see many spectators without masks, near one of its runners. “Like most of you, we are concerned about the situation in the world right now, is it written in commentary. It took so much effort from us to restart the season – and we don’t want it to end. Please wear a mask properly and keep your distance. Do it for us and the whole peloton. ”
Ten days ago, at the start in Nice, the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, declared that “Common sense indicates that a mask must be worn, even if the formal obligation to do so depends on the prefects of the 32 departments crossed.” Rodrigue Furcy, the prefect of the Hautes-Pyrénées, where the runners passed on Saturday, defended himself by ensuring that “Wearing a mask was compulsory on the whole route […] by a prefectural decree ”. But he acknowledged breaches of the instructions, including that “The wearing of the mask was not respected at one time”.
New PCR test session
The health rules against the Covid have been applied in various ways since the presentation of the event on August 27 and the start of the first stage on the 29 in Nice. Measures respected in the Alpes-Maritimes department, then classified as a “red zone” – masked spectators, “filtered” access to the course, in particular to mountain passes. And obviously more relaxed since Thursday and the stage of Mont Aigoual, in the Gard.
In addition, the riders and their staff have been subjected from this Sunday to Monday to new PCR tests. 650 people will be checked. Any sports training presenting two members (runners and management) positive for Covid-19 over a period of seven days must, according to the rules enacted before the start, be definitively excluded.
Romain Boulho special correspondent on the Tour de France