Tour de France director Prudhomme tests positive for Covid-19, all riders test negative

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme in Nice, France, on August 19, 2020.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme in Nice, France, on August 19, 2020. © Valery Hache, AFP/Archives

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has tested positive for Covid-19 but all the riders in the peloton were negative, organisers said on Tuesday.

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Prudhomme must now leave the race for a week to go into quarantine.

Prudhomme, who is asymptomatic, said he had tested negative for coronavirus three times before the start of this year’s race on “the 6, 20 and 27 of August”.

His role as chief organiser means he attends a large number of social events during the race. On Saturday he accompanied French Prime Minister Jean Castex when the premier visited the race.

“I leave the Tour now for a week, I’m going to do what any French employee would in this kind of case,” he confirmed to AFP.

“I’ll be watching the Tour on television, something I haven’t done for 15 years,” added Prudhomme who has been in charge of the Tour since 2007.

He said he was not surprised that the peloton were all negative, saying “the riders live like monks or soldiers”.

Tour de France Director Christian Prud'homme (right) and French Prime Minister Jean Castex (2nd right) applaud the riders during the 8th stage of the Tour de France cycling race on September 5, 2020.
Tour de France Director Christian Prud'homme (right) and French Prime Minister Jean Castex (2nd right) applaud the riders during the 8th stage of the Tour de France cycling race on September 5, 2020. © Anne-Christine Poujoulat, AFP

Castex, meanwhile, is to undergo a Covid-19 test as a precaution after he shared a car with Prudhomme while following the race on Saturday, the prime minister’s office said on Tuesday.

Asked by Reuters about the contact, a representative of the prime minister’s office said: “They were both wearing masks and respecting social distancing. The prime minister is to undergo a new test, just in case.”

President Emmanuel Macron indicated that the weekly cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday could be delayed or held via video conference as a result.

Intense interest had surrounded the results of the 652 swab tests as the riders were arriving by bus at the stage 10 start line on the Atlantic Island of Oleron.

Under the strict coronavirus protocol in place any team that returned two or more positive PCR tests, be they riders, managers, doctors, masseurs or mechanics, risks expulsion.

The test results were announced ahead of Tuesday’s spectacular run between the two Atlantic Islands of Oleron and Re, both of which are now connected to the French mainland by road bridges.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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