Tour de France takes new Covid hit, mass tests loom


Covid-19 forced Frenchman Guillaume Martin out of the Tour de France on Sunday a day after the first pair of cases were reported on the race.

The Cofidis rider, the highest-placed French finisher last year in seventh place, was 14th before pulling out ahead of stage eight from Aigle on Sunday.

“It’s such a shame because I only felt a slight sore throat and I was on good form yesterday,” said the former philosophy student who has published two books ‘Socrates on a bike’ and the ‘Society of the peloton’, a study of the individual within a group.

The Tour de France doctor told AFP at Aigle Sunday that the entire peloton would be tested Sunday evening after their arrival at Chatel in the Alps.

The peloton left raced under a cloud on Saturday after Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen from Pogacar’s UAE Team Emirates and Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard of AG2R Citroen tested positive for the virus and were withdrawn.

Champion Tadej Pogacar said after Saturday’s stage that he fears Covid-19 could wreak havoc on this year’s Tour.

“It’s a big scare, the pandemic is still there with us, and we can’t risk racing with it,” said the 23-year-old two-time defending champion.