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Tadej Pogacar was infected with COVID-19 during his Tour de France preparations

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Tadej Pogacar was infected with COVID-19 during his Tour de France preparations, the two-time champion revealed Thursday — two days before the race starts in Italy.

The Slovenian is aiming for the rare Tour and Giro d’Italia double after dominating the Italian race last month.

Pogacar, who won the Tour in 2020 and 2021, said that the virus only prevented him from training for one day.

“It’s not as serious anymore. Especially if your body already had the virus before and I had it once or twice,” Pogačar said, adding that he caught the virus about 10 days ago. “It wasn’t too bad, just like a cold. It passed really fast.

“I stopped for one day and then (did) some rollers inside,” he added. “Then when I wasn’t sick anymore, I was riding outside.”

Pogacar has been dominant this season, winning four of the five races he’s entered and collecting 14 victories in 31 days of racing — including Strade Bianche and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The last rider to win the Giro and the Tour in the same year was Marco Pantani in 1998.

After back-to-back Tour titles, Pogacar then finished runner-up to Jonas Vingegaard the last two years.

Vingegaard was hospitalized for nearly two weeks in April following a high-speed crash in the Tour of the Basque Country. He sustained a broken collarbone and ribs and a collapsed lung and has not raced since.

“I’m just happy to be here at the start line of the Tour de France — I think that’s a victory in itself,” Vingegaard said. “I did a lot of work, a lot of good work, and I’m not in a bad shape. But it was such a bad crash that everything from here is a bonus.”


AP cycling: https://ift.tt/VYchgxZ

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