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Guillaume Martin and... the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team bus drop out of Tour de France ahead of stage 9

Covid is not going away as the Tour de France enters its second rest day, and that wasn't the only thing leading to a DNS ahead of today's mountainous stage...

Main image: Alessandro Volders/Cycling Media Agency

With Wout Van Aert claiming another sensational victory on stage 8 of the Tour de France yesterday, cycling fans have been left hoping that none of the big names would be forced out by a positive Covid test ahead of today's stage... and while only Guillaume Martin of Cofidis fell victim to the virus, among the other dropouts were the Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert team bus, that failed due to gear problems during yesterday's journey to Lausanne. 

Fans offered their "thoughts and prayers" for the beleaguered bus, with the team holding their press conference and carrying on the onward journey to Aigle using their camper van instead. 

If you were wondering if this would create a major spanner in the works for a World Tour cycling team, it appears not, with a spokesperson telling that the breakdown was "no big deal": "...we're well covered, we used the VIP camper for today. Our bus driver Johan flew to our service course yesterday to pick up our second bus," they said. 

On the Covid front, hopes that this year's Tour would be the first since 2019 to be largely unaffected by the virus haven't materialised, with yesterday seeing the first riders dropping out of the race with Covid after UAE's Vegard Stake Laengen and AG2R- Citroën’s Geoffrey Bouchard returned positive results after Friday's stage.

It's not just riders either; The Cycling Podcast presenter Lionel Birnie, who travelled home from the Tour yesterday to attend his father's funeral, informed his Twitter followers that he had tested positive for Covid this morning. 

The UCI said: "The UCI and its partners remind all participants in road races on the UCI International Calendar that the rules introduced over the last two years in the interests of everyone’s health and safety continue to apply. These include the obligation to wear a mask, to maintain sufficient physical distance and to disinfect hands frequently." 

Will coronavirus have a major influence over who wins the jerseys at this year's Tour? Many eyes will be on the current overall leader Tadej Pogacar, and should he win today's stage as the race returns to France some might be hoping he doesn't dish out quite so many high fives to his adoring public in celebration... 

Arriving at in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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ktache | 1 year ago

While it was not a good look for Pogacar to be giving those high fives, as long as good hygiene was practiced, never touching eyes or nose with hand washing and/or gel use he should be alright. Fomite transmission seemingly has declined as a risk factor in the major route of entry with COVID. Bit odd, a lot of respiratory virus tend to use it to get about, with the original SARS 1 lift button at a hotel hosting a respiratory disease conference was the typhoid Mary.

It's the plumes of potentially infectious aerosols of all of those people that should be more worrying, I know it was outside in the bright sunshine but these people were screaming and shouting themselves horse. Omicron does seem much more transmissible through aerosols though thankfully with milder symptoms than previous varients. Unfortunately the 4 and 5 subtypes, I have read, may affect the lungs more than the 2, which seemed to be a throat thing. These are very fit young men, but any +ve test and they are off the tour, but any infection can knock them and severely affect their careers, look at Cav and how it cost him years before getting back to full fitness.

Some of the teams seem to be taking the mask thing a bit more seriously than others, with fp2/3 being on show rather than the logo'd cloth ones of some teams, but I'm a bit surprised not to see siliconed sealed HEPA filtered masks on some of the favourites, it can't hurt when talking to the press and wandering about in the hotels.

My thoughts to the bus, hopefully easily fixed.

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