It has always been a wonderful moment for an individual or a team to receive hugs at the finish line. This is an act of human connection that represents appreciation by loved ones, teammates or onlookers for an individual that had a successful cycling race. Unfortunately, we live in a COVID-19 world and individuals must adjust to its current state of reality.
The Union Cycliste Internationale released an updated version of its COVID-19 protocols last month. Many of the regulatory body’s rules remained similar to last year’s protocols. Two COVID-19 tests are still required by cyclists before they get into races and before they get into gatherings with their teams. One test is required six days before a race. Another is required three days into the race. Needless to say, masks are required to be worn all the time and proper social distancing is required.
However, there was one change made that rocked the cycling world. Cyclists are banned from having celebratory hugs at the finish line with their teammates. Even though the regulatory body has acknowledged that the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, they are not taking any chances and want to ensure that all precautions are made. In order to ensure the safety of the riders, the UCI feels that social distancing is best.
They acknowledge that hugs at the finish line are representative of the beauty and innocence of the sport. However, they feel that the guideline makes perfect sense given the situation of COVID-19 and that it would ensure that the sport conducts itself excellently in these times.
The medical director of the Union Cycliste Internationale indicated that the guidelines were more about controlling perception than the actual prevention of the spread of COVID-19. They want to send a clear message with regards to safety.