The Vuelta a España will continue for now despite the nationwide coronavirus state of emergency, the race director has said.
Authorities in Spain have declared a six-month state of emergency in the hopes of preventing a second wave of Covid-19 in the country.
The measures mean regional governments can implement overnight curfews and bring in lockdowns, as Spain hit a total of one million coronavirus cases last week.
Vuelta race director Javier Guillen told Dutch broadcaster (opens in new tab) NOS: “ we have yet to see what the government has agreed with the regions and municipalities. There seems to be a curfew between 10pm and 6am. If that becomes the situation, the Vuelta will not be affected.
“For the time being, the Vuelta will continue. I have not received any message that it is different, so it will continue.”
The shortened 18-stage Vuelta reached its first rest day on Monday (October 26), with the entire race bubble set to undergo coronavirus tests.
Covid-19 has already impacted the Spanish Grand Tour, with Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) forced to miss the race after testing positive for the virus, while the planned Tourmalet summit finish day six had to be redesigned as French authorities refused to let the race cross the border.
The Giro d’Italia underwent similar uncertainty, with four riders forced to pull out, including Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), but against the odds the race reached Milan on Sunday.
On the testing programme at the Vuelta, the director of the company in charge of health checks at the race, Juliana Roca, told Spanish newspaper AS: "It is the key day to check if there are infected in the race.
“We are capable of carrying out between 700 and 750 daily controls, although if the situation requires it we could reach up to 1,000 in one day."
Results of the tests are expected to be made public on Tuesday morning, before the start of stage seven.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. 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.
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