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QuickStep, Intermarche riders all negative in Tour de France Carcassonne COVID-19 tests

Riders wait to take their mandatory Covid19 tests after competing in the 15th stage of the 109th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 2025 km between Rodez and Carcassonne in southern France on July 17 2022 Photo by Marco BERTORELLO AFP Photo by MARCO BERTORELLOAFP via Getty Images
Riders waiting to take their mandatory COVID-19 tests after stage 15 of the 2022 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The second round of rest day testing at the Tour de France is in full swing at Carcassonne and riders from two teams have already reportedly been able to breathe a sigh of relief with a full round of negative results.

Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab) said that the entire Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux team had delivered negative tests, while according to a report in Het Laatste Nieuws (opens in new tab)the remaining six riders at QuickStep-AlphaVinyl have also got through the testing without any positive results.

QuickStep-AlphaVinyl, which won the first two stages of the Tour, have had to send key staff members home after they tested positive to COVID-19 but so far that has not extended to any of the riders. Regardless, they have lost two riders to other causes – Kasper Asgreen left the race to allow a knee injury to heal and Michael Mørkøv failed to make the time cut on stage 15 after riding almost the entire hot 202.5km stage off the back of the peleton.

In line with the UCI COVID-19 protocol, all riders, staff and race officials had to undergo rapid antigen test on Sunday evening or during the rest day in Carcassonne on Monday, with anyone who returns a positive antigen test then moving onto a PCR test. There has not yet been any statement from the UCI on the results of the COVID-19 testing from Carcassonne.

The riders last week lined up for the first round of rest day testing in Châtel after stage 9, with the UCI then announcing early on the rest day that all COVID-19 tests were negative. That doesn’t, however mean there haven’t been many riders taken out of the race due to the coronavirus. A number of riders were swapped out before the start due to positive tests and before the latest round of official testing in Carcassonne there had already been eight withdrawals during the race.

Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) and Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech) both tested positive before stage 15 and left the race while Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) went before stage 13, Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco) and George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates) departed before the start of stage 10 while Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) left before stage 9. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates) were the first riders to leave this year’s race because of COVID-19, after returning positive tests following stage 7.

Still not all riders that have returned a positive COVID-19 test have had to go home, with riders potentially allowed to continue in the Tour de France if a PCR test detects a low viral load, which is the case with Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën) and Rafal Majka (UAE Team Emirates).

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Production editor

Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.