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Why masks are still worn in the Tour de France


Jonas Vingegaard was not exactly thrilled as Emmanuel Macron closed in on him on the podium. It wasn’t because the leader of the Tour de France disliked the French president. It was more about what Macron wore – or didn’t wear. In the Tour of France, there is still a mask requirement in certain zones, which Macron ignored on his detour.

This is the background: The Giro d’Italia shocked the cycling scene in May. More than ten drivers had to withdraw with a positive corona test before or during the race. When Remco Evenepoel, who was overall leader, was also caught a week later, the organizer reintroduced the obligation to wear masks.

That is why there is a mask requirement: On the one hand, the organizer ASO is concerned that the tour will lose its stars due to many corona failures and degenerate into a farce. Testing is not mandatory, but many teams still conduct it to protect drivers. The top teams like Jumbo-Vismo therefore put pressure on them not to do without masks even during the tour. Many press conferences take place virtually.

These are the rules: masks must be worn whenever there is contact with a driver. That’s why you can often see in TV interviews that the person asking the question is wearing a mask. In addition to journalists, other team members and the drivers themselves are required to wear a mask in the so-called paddock – i.e. the bus parking lot at the start and finish.

This is absurd: the paddock is open to the public, spectators do not have to wear a mask. This leads to bizarre scenes in which journalists with masks ask a masked driver questions and autograph hunters stand right next to them without any face masks. The mask requirement is also not controlled by the tour, but most of those affected stick to it.

Meanwhile, this Saturday on the eighth stage over 200.7 kilometers from Libourne to Limoges could be the hour of the escapees. Perhaps Augsburg’s Georg Zimmermann will be able to catch a good group. Otherwise, another sprint decision is to be expected. Two climbs in the fourth category and up to five percent incline in the last 700 meters make the stage final difficult.