“F*** Covid.” With a strong curse on Twitter, Pavel Sivakov disappeared from the Vuelta. Just like ex-stage winner Simon Yates and three Spanish riders from Kern Pharma, the snot from his nose resulted in two lines on the antigen test yesterday. The total number of ‘positivos’ in this Tour of Spain is already 21. That is already five more halfway through than in a full Tour de France (sixteen).
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The fear of getting infected is very strong among the riders. Certainly with those who compete for the marbles and not least with Remco Evenepoel. “When I heard the news from Yates and Sivakov, I was a bit shocked,” admitted the red jersey on Wednesday before the start of the stage. “Those two had done a good time trial and were doing well. The arrival zone Tuesday was a little nightmare. There was a lot of people and no one was wearing a mouth mask. Perhaps we should make a statement to the organization that it should be much safer.”
In the same breath, Evenepoel launched an appeal to the organization. “Many more measures need to be taken to close the Vuelta. The only option seems to me to be fenced off for the last five kilometers of each stage, so that no one can continue.”
Evenepoel’s words were not cold when the Vuelta organization reacted as if stung by a wasp with a sham measure to appease the riders. During the stage, ASO announced that it would now close the area of the team buses to the press. A joke. The journalists who were allowed to come there until Wednesday were tested for corona on Tuesday and constantly wear a mouth mask.
The real problem – as Evenepoel rightly pointed out – is the finish zones. They are a mess in the Vuelta. Barely demarcated and with far too few security personnel to keep the cycling fans at a distance. Ironically, Wednesday night was the most chaotic arrival yet. The mixed zone, in which cyclists are interviewed afterwards, was literally located on the narrow beach of Cabo de Gata. Bathers in bikinis and swimming trunks could – with an ice cream in hand – stand undisturbed between the masked journalists until close to the riders.
Of course, Evenepoel was surrounded by selfie hunters in bare torso. He looked at it with sorrow. “I am very sorry. If the Vuelta wants peace of mind and wants the race to continue for three weeks, they have to do something about this quickly. Otherwise it might already be done by next Sunday.”
Vuelta boss Javier Guillén: “Most corona cases show no symptoms”
The Vuelta boss Javier Guillén said in the organizing newspaper AS that he is “not too worried about those positive corona tests”.
“Most cases show no symptoms. There is no illness in these corona cases. Of course the situation affects the round, but you have to go by the statistics and stay optimistic.”
“Everyone who has tested positive has disappeared from the competition and can therefore no longer infect anyone. I am of course not a doctor or an epidemiologist, so I follow the health regulations. It is the teams that test themselves. That is why there are now daily corona cases. But everyone who is gone is someone who cannot spread the virus, although the number of cases is greater than expected,” said the ‘Christian Prudhomme of the Tour of Spain’ in the sports newspaper. (hc)