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Tour de France: Corona fears at the Tour: Masks back in fashion

Tour de France: Corona fears at the Tour: Masks back in fashion

Tadej Pogacar was hit hard during preparation, Jonas Vingegaard has to manage without his most important helper. Before the start of the Tour de France, Corona is once again an issue.

Shortly before the start of the Tour de France, fears of the coronavirus are suddenly spreading again. Superstar Tadej Pogacar had just caught it during preparation, although the symptoms were said to have been mild. But for many teams, this was warning enough to pull out the Corona protocols that had long since become dusty.

The Belgian time trial world champion Remco Evenepoel, one of the favorites ahead of the Tour de France starting in Florence on Saturday, presented himself with a red mask. And in the team of Danish defending champion Jonas Vingegaard, PCR tests and hand disinfection are again part of the standard program in addition to the masks.

“I don’t want to scare people that I’m sick. I’m fine, but I’m being cautious,” said young star Evenepoel, adding: “We come into contact with a lot of people here. I don’t want to end the Tour like the Giro last year.” In 2023, Evenepoel dropped out on the first rest day as the wearer of the pink jersey after an infection. That shouldn’t happen again.

Vingegaard loses noble helper

In Vingegaard’s team Visma-Lease a bike, Corona had already caused a prominent dropout. Vuelta champion Sepp Kuss, who was intended to be a noble helper for the Danish winner of 2022 and 2023, was hit harder by the virus. “Sepp is very valuable. We miss him very much. Not just me, but the whole team,” said Vingegaard.

Pogacar, however, has come off more lightly, as he said: “I have recovered well. Covid is no longer as serious as it was back then. I already had the virus. The body gets used to it. It wasn’t that bad and passed quickly.” He only had a one-day break in total, after which he rode a little on the roller.

No corona measures planned for the tour

The German Red Bull team is also sensitized. The usual, strict hygiene and precautionary measures are in place. In the event of infections, these will be ramped up again, as a spokesperson confirmed in response to a dpa inquiry. “The danger is always there, all the time. We try to be cautious. It’s difficult to escape it. Sometimes you need luck,” said captain Primoz Roglic, adding with a view to the packed hall at the press conference: “I assume that everyone has a negative test result.”

Not at all, because all corona measures have long since been lifted at the Tour. Last year, after the many cancellations at the Giro due to Covid, masks were still compulsory in certain areas. Journalists had to wear a face mask every time they came into contact with a rider, and other team members and the riders themselves were also required to wear a mask in the so-called paddock – the bus parking area at the start and finish. Those times actually seemed to be over…

Source: Stern

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