Organisers of the Tour de France cycling classic have drawn up a host of new coronavirus protocols for the 2023 edition of the event in a return to impositions for riders and team officials not seen since the height of the pandemic.
The new rules include – but are not limited to – impositions on riders, team staff and officials who are set to wear face masks at sign-on and in the team paddock, while riders will be banned from signing autographs, eating out or taking selfies with fans.
Riders will also not be allowed to leave their hotels once sent there for the night.
The Reuters news agency first revealed the new COVID-19 protocols, while similar, more stringent rules were introduced for stage 1 of the Criterium du Dauphine race last week.
At last year’s race, riders and team staff were allowed to leave their hotels, with some opting to visit local restaurants.
Access to the team paddock, where the buses are, was also open to media and VIP guests, until the organisers introduced stricter measures halfway through the race.
Now everything has changed.
In an interview last week with L’Équipe, former world champion Julian Alaphilippe said he was the only person wearing a mask on his flight to the Critérium du Dauphiné but he was still happy to comply with orders.
Tour de France organizers have opted to not press charges against a woman who caused one of the worst pile-ups in cycling history. https://t.co/DIykiyYwvM
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 1, 2021
“I’m still being careful,” the Frenchman said. “It may be too much but we have to remain vigilant, I prefer that to missing the Tour de France.
“Cycling remains the only sport where you have a lot of controls: it spoils the party a bit, but we have to get used to it. In order not to stay at home in July and throw away all the sacrifices we’ve made, we must continue to stay in a bubble.
“Maybe the measures are too heavy, but I really want to ride the Tour.”
Organisers of the July 1-23 Tour, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), have not officially confirmed the raft of protocols will be put in place.