Covid-19 infections are on the rise again and the sports world is of course affected. With this seventh wave currently hitting France and all of Europe, several competitions are being hit with series packs from entrants. From the Grande Boucle to the Wimbledon lawn through summer rugby tours, these are the implications for the sporting world.
Tour de France: the peloton delivered, the champion of France drafted
“Boarding a crowded plane for the big departure while 90% of the passengers are not wearing a mask. First stress test. “Even before he sets foot in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark from which the Tour de France starts on Friday, Romain Bardet is already concerned and let us know on Twitter. Like his colleagues in the peloton, the Frenchman from the DSM training fears a Covid-19 infection that would prevent him from participating in the Grande Boucle.
The Quick-Step Alpha Vynil formation, which failed to hold on to Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe’s favorite three weeks of racing, was already forced to adjust its plans. The Belgian team eventually selected France’s recent champion, Florian Sénéchal, to compensate for Belgian Tim Declerq’s positive test.
After a Tour of Switzerland in which about forty riders had thrown in the towel due to Covid-19, the teams are taking their precautions. France’s Groupama-FDJ team announced on Tuesday that “in view of the health situation,” the pre-departure press conference would be held via videoconference.
Wimbledon: a table that opens for Rafael Nadal
What if the Covid-19 helped Rafael Nadal win a third Grand Slam tournament in a row after the Australian Open and Roland-Garros? We’re not there yet, but the infections have seriously lit up the Spaniard’s portion of the table at Wimbledon. The famous grass tournament, of which the first matches in the main tournament took place on Monday, has already lost the Croatian Marin Cilic, a potential opponent of Mallorca, in the round of 16.
On Tuesday it will be the turn of Italian Matteo Berrettini, a 2021 finalist and tipped to face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final, who had to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19. All eyes are now on the unvaccinated Serb Novak Djokovic, who trained with Marin Cilic on June 23.
Rugby: the XV of France, England and New Zealand hit
Even before their departure to Japan, the Blues were already disturbed by the Covid-19 in their preparation. Two players, Aymeric Luc and Max Spring, as well as two members of the tricolor staff Laurent Labit, have tested positive, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced on Wednesday. Negative on Saturday, the two fullbacks were able to join the rest of France’s XV in the land of the Rising Sun. The hardest part is logically behind for the Blues, whose quarantine was lifted on site Sunday for lack of cases.
But other selections are also affected. New Zealander Will Jordan is the last All Black to give up a test match against Ireland on Saturday due to Covid-19. For the Canterbury Crusaders winger, his teammates David Havili and Jack Goodhue, as well as coach Ian Foster and his two assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod tested positive this week.
England, who will face Australia three times at home, saw his winger Jonny May placed in solitary confinement on his arrival in Perth on Wednesday. The player is locked up and should miss the first showdown next Saturday.