Chambon-sur-Lac — This year's Tour de France will see the reintroduction of an anti-Covid protocol, including the wearing of masks and social distancing, sources said Sunday.
Organisers of the July 1-23 Tour, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), have not officially confirmed that a protocol will be put in place.
But a meeting Saturday with sporting directors from participating teams on the eve of the week-long Criterium du Dauphine allowed ASO to lay out its plans, according to various team members.
The protocol foresees a limited access to the finish area for teams while the wearing of masks will be mandatory for guests and journalists in the race bubble.
As for the riders, the idea is to limit to the maximum interactions outside the bubble, ruling out, for example, visits to restaurants or mixing with fans for selfies or autographs.
The protocol will be introduced in a bid to avoid a repeat of a Covid-19 outbreak at the Giro d'Italia in May, when then-leader and race favourite Remco Evenepoel was forced to withdraw after a positive test for coronavirus.
The opening stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday saw almost all riders wearing masks.
"It doesn't bother me as long as we preserve our health. I prefer to put masks on and for everyone to be more relaxed rather than to have an outbreak and a lot of riders ruled out because of Covid," Groupama-FDJ team leader David Gaudu told AFP.