(Reuters) - The professional riders' association (CPA) called on cycling fans on Saturday to wear face masks along the route of the Tour de France during the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday.
"To cycling lovers: Respect the riders, respect yourself, respect the distance and wear a mask," the CPA said in a statement.
The race organisers have decided that 26 climbs would be closed to motorized vehicles in order to avoid mass gatherings, leaving spectators having to walk or cycle up the road to see the peloton in the mountain passes.
Several fans have been seen running along by the riders without face masks on.
All riders and team staff members will be tested for coronavirus on Sunday and during Monday's rest day. Should two members of a team - riders or staff members - test positive within a seven-day period, their whole outfit will be excluded from the race.
France recorded almost 9,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, setting a record since the beginning of the pandemic.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Hugh Lawson)