The UCI has published its updated Covid-19 health protocols for all races on the men’s and women’s 2021 road race schedule.
The governing body for cycling published the update protocols which have been drafted by a group led by UCI medical director Xavier Bigard, the 2021 protocol is very similar to the 2020 version but adopts changes to reflect the approval of vaccines and new variants of the virus.
UCI President David Lappartient said “Progress has been made in the fight against coronavirus, especially with the arrival of vaccines, which have given us hope that we can soon make a gradual return to a more 'normal' life. However, given that athletes and young adults are not among governments' priorities for vaccination, we have decided, in conjunction with the steering group - which includes representatives of the riders, teams, team doctors and organisers - to maintain similarly high standards as last year, in the best interests of all parties and in expectation of better days ahead. Cycling showed in 2020 that it knows how to organise major events in a pandemic, thanks in the main to an exemplary spirit of unity on the part of all stakeholders. In view of that spirit and the experience we have acquired, I am convinced that we have what it takes to continue to give our sport a platform, despite all the continuing uncertainty.”
Riders are still required to show two negative tests before ach UCI race and during all rest days on UCI 2021 Grand Tours testing will be conducted. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests are the ones to be conducted during rest days and the UCI has said that saliva tests are adequate as pre-race tests whilst antigen tests are not due to lower reliability and lack of medical research with new variants.
Tour organisers will also be required to assist teams in conducting PCR tests when leaving the country at the end of a Tour. The UCI said that race bubbles and PCR testing are still requirements as many countries have not classed elite-level athletes as a prioritisation for vaccination so many riders will not have been vaccinated during races. They also stressed that masks should be worn correctly and that the UCI protocols do not take precedence over countries law or measures in place. UAE Team Emirates confirmed last month that 27 riders and 32 staff had received a vaccination.
You can read the updated protocol here.