Several teams and riders at the Tour de France have expressed serious concern as fans continue to ignore simple measures to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus among the peleton.
Pictures of fans encroaching well onto the course and reaching out to the riders, unremarkable in any other year, have led several teams to take to social media, pleading with fans not to get carried away as the famous race edges closer to the finish line on the Champs Elysees.
Eights stages into the race though, and teams are already fed up with overly enthusiastic fans encroaching on the riders’ path and potentially spreading COVID-19.
Movistar Team took to Twitter to remind fans to wear a mask and fit it properly, as well as keep their distance from riders.
“As most of you, we’re concerned by the current situation in the world,” the team posted.
“It’s taken so much effort to restart the season - and we all don’t want it to end.
“Please wear a mask, use it correctly, and keep some distance. Do it for us and the rest of the field.”
Riders fear virus from Tour de France fans
The Movistar team wasn’t alone in their pleas, with several riders also taking to social media to politely ask for a bit of space.
Images from the eighth stage of the Tour showed fans spilling on the roads and reaching out to passing competitors - some wearing masks, some not.
Jumbo-Visma rider Tom Dumoulin said fans clearly did not appreciate the massive risk they posed to the Tour if just one person was positive for the coronavirus.
“I saw more people today than in the past few days. Especially in the last kilometres, I didn’t like it - there were a lot of enthusiastic spectators without a mask,” he told Dutch newspaper AD.
“If I have to believe the virologists, the chance of infection is low during a cycling race, but that does not mean that it is safe.
“One spectator only needs to have corona and cough, and a rider picks it up.”