In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has today published a protocol for the resumption of the 2020 mountain bike season. The protocol focuses mainly on health procedures.
The document applies to all UCI-registered international competitions, in particular the UCI World Championships and the UCI World Cup. Mountain bike has been hit hard by Covid-19, with more than 60 per cent of events on the UCI International Mountain Bike Calendar having been cancelled or postponed. Drawn up by the UCI’s medical department, the document is designed to provide organisers, riders and teams with the measures that will enable a return to competition in conditions that safeguard the safety of everyone involved.
The UCI wishes to make the following initial points about the protocol:
- It is subject to the local and national laws and measures applicable in territories hosting events;
- It should be understood as part of an approach designed to reduce risks relating to the pandemic as far as possible;
- It applies mainly to organisers, with responsibility for crowd management in accordance with the relevant authorities’ guidelines;
- It may be updated in response to developments in the global health situation and scientific advances.
Like the protocol introduced for road cycling, the document is based on the principle of the “competitors’ bubble”, which is made up of the riders, management staff and doctors. During competition, the competitors’ bubble should be protected as far as possible from the risk of contamination by appropriate measures.
The document is based on a series of recommendations, which the UCI strongly encourages to be applied, including:
- A medical check upon entry into the competitors’ bubble, with organisers able to choose from a simple clinical questionnaire and/or viral tests;
- Measures designed to limit the risk of the virus spreading, such as making accommodation secure, the organisation of common areas (media area, official zones and guest areas), the restriction of access to start and finish areas, and changes to awards ceremonies, etc;
- Measures specific to mountain bike, such as conditions pertaining to access to the downhill start area (reduction in the number of people per cabin, conditions relating to the boarding of bikes), organisation of the finish area (only one person in the hotseat).
In order to ensure that stakeholders are provided with relevant information prior to the event, organisers are also required to:
- Provide information through a dedicated UCI platform on the pandemic in the region in question and on the health procedures to be followed by people suspected of having Covid-19 (in accordance with the applicable regulations in the country in question);
- Publish the results of the risk analysis for the event, which reveals the situation with regard to the pandemic at local level and the scope of the measures taken by the organisers. This risk analysis should comply with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and an international working group.
UCI President David Lappartient said: “This protocol for international mountain bike events is an important piece in the puzzle as we look to get our sport started again. The principle of the ‘team bubble’, adopted by road cycling, has been developed here for off road cycling, with aspects specific to MTB. The UCI, organisers, teams and riders have the responsibility of applying these measures so that the resumption of mountain bike in particular and cycling in general is not in any way compromised. Given the current global health situation, this resumption is by no means guaranteed. The protocol remains dependent upon the laws and provisions of the countries hosting our events, but it does represent another step towards a return to normality for our sport.”Protocol for the resumption of the mountain biking season in the context of the coronavirus pandemic