Teams kept in ‘life bubbles’, multiple Covid tests and restricting fans – how the UCI plans to keep races coronavirus safe

The governing body has published the safety regulations for the return of racing

(Image credit: Getty Images)

With the return of pro racing just days away, the UCI has published a set of strict procedures that teams and race organisers must follow to minimise the risk of coronavirus spread.

A number of smaller races have already gone ahead in Poland, with the Sibiu Cycling Tour in Romania and the Vuelta a Burgos set to kick off this month, before WorldTour racing officially returns with Strade Bianche on August 1.

But with coronavirus still a global crisis, the UCI is trying to keep riders, fans and staff as safe as possible by implementing some strict measures.

The governing body has published a 19-page document titled ‘Procedures to be followed for the re-opening of the road cycling season in the context of the coronavirus pandemic,’ which sets out the rules for the UCI World Tour, Women’s WorldTour and ProSeries.

Before the event, organisers must make a risk assessment of the global coronavirus situation and of the race’s host nation to decide if it should go ahead.

The next step is for race management to appoint a Covid-19 coordinator, who will make sure the regulations are adhered to.

Riders and teams at the race will then be kept in a ‘life bubble’, which means they will be given a floor to themselves in the race hotels, with an independent dining room.

Hotel staff must be brief on room cleaning, physical distancing, hand washing and wearing masks.

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During stage races, the organisers must also designate an isolation room – one for each team- for anyone who shows symptoms of coronavirus.

Riders and staff will also have to undergo clinical and biological health checks before travelling to the race, to catch any cases of coronavirus including those that are not showing symptoms.

At the race itself, there will be a number of restrictions put in place to make sure those working on the race can maintain a 1.5 metre distance from each other.

This includes separate pathways for personnel in the media zones, the official zones and the VIP area.

Spectator numbers must be limited in the departure and arrival areas of each race or stage, which adhere to the rules of each individual government.

A safe space must be maintained between riders and spectators, while fans should also be encourage to wear masks.

Post-race award ceremonies will be altered so athletes must wear a mask, while the crowds and number of photographers will also be restricted.

Anti-doping checks must also be carried out safely, with physical distancing and procedures for signing documents.

Teams have also been releasing their own guidance and rules for fans and media when racing returns.

For Strade Bianche, CCC Team has said all media must wear masks when interviewing riders and maintain at least two metres distance, refrain from touching and not ask riders or staff to hold anything (like microphones or recording equipment).

>>> Mathieu van der Poel takes on the climbers with 23km mountain KoM on Strava 

Deceuninck – Quick-Step has released a video urging fans to check government rules on group gatherings, wear masks, regularly clean their hands and not get too close for photographs with riders.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.