• Flashback to the 2018 Tour De France final stage. (Anadolu)Source: Anadolu
The Tour de France will take on a rather unique look this year as teams set out to tackle the threat of the coronavirus.
By
SBS Cycling Central

21 Aug 2020 - 4:10 PM 

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Event director Christian Prudhomme has urged fans to wear masks and respect the riders from a distance during each stage, while teams, too, are heightening their prevention protocols.

"There's the UCI protocols which is more around the testing phases leading into the races," Mitchelton-Scott sports director Gene Bates said.

"And then we have our own team protocols which is more around the day-to-day detail of our anti-COVID protection.

"It's quite a lengthy and detailed protocol but it is really based around fundamentals of keeping socially distanced, wearing our masks and (maintaining) hygiene around hand sanitisation.

"We have limited people on the bus travelling to the race now. It's really just the riders, the doctor and director.

"Once we get to the race, you'll see the riders wearing masks all the way up to the start of the race, where they can discard them.

"And then at the very end of the race, they'll put these masks back on.

"The UCI protocols are more around the entry into the race, whereas our team protocols are more about the safety and health of our staff and riders all the time.

"From six days before the start of an event, we'll do a COVID test, and then we'll do a follow-up test three days before the event." 

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Set up as a safety measure for last week's Critérium du Dauphiné, Tour organisers have also adopted the 'bubble' for their respective participants, along with several zones and restrictions.

And while such measures are now mandatory across all French bike races, Lotto-Soudal's Caleb Ewan believes not too much has changed.

"There's little changes," Ewan said. "Obviously we're not allowed to be close to the public and have to wear masks most of the time but it doesn't change so much.

"Before we enter the bubble - that's what we call it - we get tested a few times and make sure everyone is COVID-free before we mingle together."

"There's nothing special," Bora-Hansgrohe mechanic Rene Obst said in agreement.

"The job is the same and we only have to wear a mask."

"For us, it's much easier because there are not as many people around us. In our group it's all fine and we get tested often so there's no point to get scared over something like this."

The Tour is scheduled to commence on August 29 and fans can watch all the action LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on SBS.

SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker - The place to watch the Tour de France in full
The 2020 Tour de France on SBS will be covered from the start in sunny Nice to the sunset on the Champs-Élysées, with exclusive live start to finish coverage of every stage through the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker.