Riders will be banned from celebratory hugs with their team mates after races as part of new COVID-19 protocols introduced this season by cycling’s governing body the UCI.
The ruling appears to be more symbolic than anything else as riders exist in team bubbles and spend the day riding in close proximity in the peloton.
“As a doctor, I can say that the risk of becoming infected by hugging is not particularly high,” the UCI’s medical chief Xavier Bigard, said at a UCI health and safety seminar.
“However, it is all about the message we want to send to the world, and more specifically to cycling fans. Namely that it is forbidden to touch other people if we want to stop the virus.”
“There is already a ban for riders to hug and touch each other on the podium. Common sense tells us that it is therefore wise not to display the same behaviour after the finish.”
The measure will be mandatory when there is a ‘moderate’ or ‘low’ risk in terms of pandemic severity. There will be no sanctions for huggers—the measures are part of a number of new coronavirus protocols the organization is putting in place.