Tour champion Pogacar in Covid-19 setback as UAE Tour looms

UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar. — Reuters file
UAE Team Emirates rider Tadej Pogacar. — Reuters file

Paris - It is a blow for the 23-year-old Slovenian Pogacar ahead of the race which begins on February 20


Published: Tue 8 Feb 2022, 11:39 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Feb 2022, 11:42 PM

Double Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar of powerhouse Team UAE-Emirates contracted Covid-19 last week, hindering his warm up for the World Tour race on his outfit’s home soil, a statement said on Tuesday.

It is a blow for the 23-year-old Slovenian Pogacar ahead of the race, the week-long UAE Tour which begins on February 20.

The world’s top paid cyclist is the title holder of the UAE Tour and has insisted he is keen to defend the title.

“Tadej tested positive for the virus and had mild symptoms. He underwent mandatory isolation before resuming light training,” Dr Adrian Rotunno, Team UAE’s medical director said.

“He is still due to undergo some final medical clearance testing, but should be on track to resume his preparation for his first race of the season, the UAE Tour,” a team statement said.

Last season Pogacar edged Adam Yates of Ineos, and the pair are sceduled to go head-to-head again here in 2022.

Some 18 of the elite level top-tier teams will be at the starting line for race, which is the first major date on the World Tour calendar.

The race includes plenty of opportunities for the slated sprinters with Mark Cavendish amongst them, but with an individual time-trial and a summit finish an all-rounder will likely take the honours.

The UAE Tour was in the world headlines in 2020 when Covid-19 struck the race and organisers locked the entire peloton and accompanying caravan down in their hotels.

Pogacar has won the last two editions of the Tour de France. Last season he won two monuments, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy, and is ranked number one in road cycling.

He will follow the UAE Tour with three monuments: Milan-San Remo in March and the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April.

He plans to ride the Tour de France in July and the Vuelta a Espana in August, before defending his Lombardy title in October.

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