By Jonny Long
The UCI has released safety protocols to try and mitigate the risk of a coronavirus outbreak for when racing returns.
Focusing on keeping both teams and races in "bubbles", the guidelines also provide details as to how testing and medical monitoring of riders will be handled, to try and ensure rescheduled events go ahead as planned.
Three general principles will oversee the resumption of racing. Firstly, each team (riders, staff and doctors) will form a "team bubble" when each race starts, which will then become a "peloton bubble".
Secondly, three pandemic levels will be created, designating a very low, low or moderate risk level. The third involves a mandatory appointment of a coronavirus doctor or co-ordinator, adaption risk zones (registration, feed zones, awards ceremonies) and maintaining the respect of the preventive "bubble" principle by each team at their accommodation and when travelling at each race.
Before races, the coronavirus co-ordinator will check that the accommodation being used is compatible with maintaining the bubble principle, while a screening strategy will be implemented in the days leading up to the event in order to detect any possible carriers of the virus.
During races, riders will go through daily medical monitorings, with social distancing measures implemented between those within the peloton bubble and people on the outside, such as organising staff, media and the public.
Should a positive coronavirus case emerge, the guidelines of the country the race is taking place in will be followed, with race organisers needing to inform participating teams of the national protocol relating to isolating and identifying anyone who had contact with the carrier.
In a press release, UCI President David Lappartient said: "This protocol of instructions and recommendations is fundamental, especially for the teams and organisers, with a view to the resumption of cycling races.
"These measures remain dependent on the laws and measures in the different host countries and may need to be adapted but this protocol is another step towards our sport’s return to life. After the announcement of the calendars, we now have the framework which will enable riders to race again."
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