Two days before the Giro d’Italia, the spectre of Covid-19 has returned to cause havoc in the peloton. As a result, numerous riders have been forced to withdraw from the race after testing positive for the substance. Primoz Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma squad has been hit particularly hard by this development.
On Thursday, Jumbo-Visma said that a third positive instance had been found, resulting in Jos van Emden being asked to resign.
The Dutch cyclist was one of the two riders, along with Rohan Dennis, who had been called up 24 hours earlier to replace Robert Gesink and Tobias Foss, who had been infected with the virus. The other two riders, Robert Gesink and Tobias Foss had been forced to withdraw due to their illness.
Sam Oomen will take over for Van Emden, but this is another setback for Roglic, who was considered one of the race’s front-runners.
“It’s not ideal, but we’re going to deal with it, and we’re going to find solutions,” said the Slovenian rider, who has won three stages on the Giro but has never won the overall classification, with his best result being a third-place finish in 2019.
We will give it our all to maintain our health so that we can make it through these next three weeks. We will need a little bit of luck as well,” he continued.
On Thursday, the Bahrain team also announced that one of its leaders, Swiss rider Gino Mader, will not be participating in the next Tour de France. Mader was unable to compete in the previous Tour de France due to Covid.
Remco Evenepoel, another of the race’s favourites, remarked that it was “always scary to see several riders sidelined because of an illness, especially Covid-19.”
The Belgian said, “I think we’re going to do what we did in the last Vuelta. “Wear masks, be more careful, and wash our hands more often to prevent the virus from spreading.”
Nonetheless, according to a spokesman for the event’s organizers who spoke with AFP, there is “no special protocol for the Giro at the moment.”
Geraint Thomas, a rider from Great Britain who won the Tour de France in 2018 and is now ranked among the outsiders in this year’s Giro, seemed unfazed by the new instances.
“I’m not particularly worried,” said the Welshman who will lead the challenge against Ineos. “I’m not particularly worried.”
This has been the case for several years at this point. We take a very cautious approach as a team, but we cannot manage every variable. That’s the way it is, and that’s just the way life is.