While every other sport, league, and event continues to ban athletes from competing if they test positive for COVID-19, the Tour de France is changing that pattern.
Bob Jungels of Luxembourg tested positive for the virus the day prior to the start of the race in Copenhagen on July 1. Instead of seeing the positive result and keeping him from racing, a panel of doctors looked at his sample and deemed his viral load was low enough for him to ride.
In other words, doctors determined Jungels was not contagious to others.
Fast-forward to the ninth stage on July 10, and Jungels is the first to cross the line during the ninth stage.
“I had a test on the Thursday morning. But with the result you could see that I could start the race on Friday. It was very very close I believe,” Jungels told Reuters. “Luckily I made it.”
Talk about a novel concept, athletes still being able to compete after a positive test the day prior. Maybe the Tour de France doctors have different technology than every other sport around the world and are the only ones that can determine the severity of viral loads.
The win for Jungels was a monumental one for a number of different reasons.
Jungels became the first rider from Luxemburg to win a stage on the Tour since 2011. The 29-year-old was also forced to miss last year’s Tour de France as well as the Olympics after undergoing surgery on a vascular problem.
Frustrations and emotions had to be at an all-time high for Jungels after he tested positive, thinking he’d have to miss out on yet another Tour de France. Thankfully doctors allowed him to ride and nine days into the Tour he earned a stage win on a solo mountain raid.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter: @itismarkharris
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