The Tour de France is hanging on by a thread.
Simple measures put in place by the governing body for the health and safety of riders, teams and fans continue to be ignored.
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As the world famous race rolled through the 141km eighth stage, teams and officials are becoming fed up with fans on the side of the road.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic hanging over the head of the race, teams are doing everything they can to ensure the race will run its course all the way to the Champs-Elysees on September 20.
But during stage 8, those watching on were quick to call out fans on the side of the road for failing to wear a mask or not wearing one correctly.
Movistar Team pleaded with fans to ensure they’re following the proper protocols to ensure the race is brought to a halt.
“As most of you, we’re concerned by the current situation in the world. 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,” the team tweeted.
Fans lining the streets and crowding riders is a familiar site when it comes a normal Tour de France. But in 2020, as we all sadly know too well, this year has been anything but normal.
It sadly isn’t the first stage in which fears have been raised by teams and riders over fans failing to wear masks.
In the final kilometres of stage 6, Jumbo-Visma’s Tom Dumoulin called out the spectators as they crowded the course.
“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 said to 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.”
Race organisers closed roads to vehicles in an attempt to avoid mass gatherings, however fans are still able to walk up the roads to watch the peloton pass by.
Nans Peters scored a first home stage win on the Tour de France on Saturday with Britain’s Adam Yates clinging on to the overall lead on a tough Pyrenean stage that caused an unexpected shake-up on stage 8 of 21.
Chief among the day’s victims was fancied French climber Thibaut Pinot, who dropped out of the race for the overall standings entirely on the penultimate climb.
Peters achieved his win over three major mountains in the presence of French Prime Minister Jean Castex, producing a brilliant long-range solo breakaway.
“I told myself, believe, believe believe,” said the AG2R rider who finished the 141km run from Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle in just over four hours.
But there was also a ferocious battle on the final climb of the dreaded Col de Peyresourde.
Yates, defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal and French climber Romain Bardet were all dropped and appeared doomed.
Yates caught back up near the summit however while the other two swooped down the daredevil final descent to claw their way back closer to the form men, Primoz Roglic and Nairo Quintana.
Yates leads Roglic by three seconds, Frenchman Guillaume Martin by nine and Bardet by 11.
Ineos leader Bernal is fifth at 13sec, level with three other Colombians, Quintana, Lopez and Uran in a tight overall standings.
“It was a really fast pace,” said Yates of the last climb “I just went at my own rhythm and came back in my own time and I went with them all over the top,” said the 28-year-old Mitchelton-Scott team leader.
Yates, whose brother Simon won two stages on the 2019 Tour de France, said his parents were also on the Tour, and possibly having a better time than he was.
“They got here two days ago,” said Yates. “It’s not every day you lead the Tour de France.
“Mum and Dad are making the most of it, they’re having more fun than I am,” he joked.
“Personally I just want to take it day by day.”
— with AFP