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Giro d’Italia stage 4 race bubble COVID-19 tests all negative

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 4th stage Piacenza - Sestola 187 km - 11/05/2021 - Scenery - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021
Heading out into a rainy stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The Giro d’Italia race bubble, which includes the riders, team staff and key officials, appears to be free of COVID-19, according to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, after a round of rapid testing on the morning of stage 4 delivered negative results across the board. 

“After the first round of molecular tests in Turin, a round of (rapid) antigenic swabs was completed this morning [Tuesday], all of which were negative and involved about 650 people: not only the athletes then but all the staff members of the 23 teams,” reported La Gazzetta dello Sport.

There were a number of COVID-19 cases at last year’s delayed edition of the Giro d’Italia in October, which took place amid a building second wave of the pandemic in Italy. One of this year’s favourites, Simon Yates, was among those that tested positive to COVID-19 at the race in 2020 and after four staff members of the Mitchelton-Scott team tested positive his squad also left the race. Jumbo-Visma also pulled out, with Steven Kruijswijk testing positive, as did Michael Matthews who was then racing with Team Sunweb.

“The Giro d'Italia 2021 in this sense made a further effort compared to last year, because it increased the amount of tests carried out during the 3 weeks (4 weekends) of competition," said the Italian newspaper newspaper, which is owned, like the Giro d'Italia, by RCS Media Group. 

"In fact, on Saturday and Sunday there is another complete round of antigenic pads. In this way, a total of 2,600 tests will be reached, in just over a week.”

The UCI medical protocol for 2021 outlines that all riders and staff, even individuals already vaccinated, have to undergo regular PCR testing on rest days during Grand Totrs and follow the rules of social distancing and use protective masks. 

The positioning of feed zones isn’t made public, celebratory hugs are discouraged, riders pull on their own classification jerseys before going to the podium and start, finish and team bus areas are all part of the race bubble area. RCS Sport race staff and UCI officials also are to be tested regularly while everyone else on the race must remain outside the race and team bubbles. 

Crowds are allowed along the race route, with a third wave subsiding and Italy opening up, but masks and distancing are obligatory outdoors.