The WorldTour of 2020 is due to resume in the coming days and it’s going to look considerably different to what we knew it to be. The CCC Team, for example, has issued a summary of new media protocols once racing begins again… here is an overview.
At the beginning of July, the head of communications of CCC Team, Phoebe Haymes, sent a questionnaire to cycling media asking about race coverage during the pandemic. It was an early step in establishing new guidelines for journalists and, with racing only days away, it’s interesting to note the outcome of Haymes’ survey.
We all recognise that this is a period of significant adaptation, with health the key concern. And the measures that are going to be applied by the Polish team once it’s back in action at Strade Bianche on 1 August have been summarised in bullet-points on an email sent overnight.
The subject header is ‘CCC Team Media Protocol / Strade Bianche media opportunity with Van Avermaet’, and Haymes lists various sites that are common at bike races and explains when and how interviews must be conducted when racing restarts.
Exactly how cycling adapts to the dramatic changes required this year remains to be seen but CCC is offering numerous examples of what is necessary to limit the risk of infection while still allowing journalists to get interviews and explain the racing.
It’s going to be different for the media, but also the fans. Only yesterday, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme told Cyclism’Actu that “it will certainly not be the right year to ask for an autograph”.
The quest to get back to some sense of normalcy continues but, just because racing is about to start again, don’t expect it to look as it did before.
Below is the overview offered by Haymes for those wanting to access GVA at Strade Bianche at the start of August. It’s a start but she also reminds the media of the obvious: “This is subject to change and any changes will be communicated accordingly.”
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CCC Team Media Protocol
- All interviews on-site will be conducted at the CCC Team bus where social distancing can be monitored. No interviews are to be conducted at the finish line or start area.
- Pre-race interviews conducted on-site will be at a time determined by the press officer and each rider will be separated from the media by 2m.
- Post-race interviews conducted at the bus will take place either immediately after the race or once riders have showered. Each rider will be separated from the media by 2m.
- All media will be required to wear masks and use equipment that allows the required 2m distance between riders and media to be maintained.
- Riders and staff members will be required to wear masks while giving interviews.
- Media are prohibited from touching riders and staff or asking them to hold anything (microphones etc).
- All interviews conducted in person (at the race or at the team hotel) will be limited to 15 minutes and performed outside where possible. Interviews conducted at the team hotel will be approved on a limited basis, in consultation with the press officer and team doctor, however no access will be granted to behind the scenes team areas.
- Video and phone interviews will be arranged as much as possible, particularly at races where media cannot access the team parking at the stage start and finish.
- Any exceptions to the above rules must be approved by the onsite press officer, or directly with me when no press officer is present.
- The team will provide audio and video interviews, via WhatsApp, as much as possible. Requests for comment from specific riders are welcomed.
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Expect there to be plenty of interest in GVA, CCC Team and the stories that emerge when racing begins, but don’t expect the usual journalism… because, as everyone keeps saying, everything is different in 2020.
– By Rob Arnold