Tour de France 2022: Another teammate of reigning champion Tadej Pogacar abandons race

George Bennett has been forced to retire from the Tour

New Zealand’s George Bennett became the second team mate of defending champion Tadej Pogacar to leave the race after a positive Covid-19 test, his UAE Emirates team said on Tuesday.

“On Monday he was tested as per internal protocols of the team and returned a positive result. This was confirmed with a PCR test,” UAE said in a statement.

“Therefore he will not start today,” team doctor Adrian Rotunno said.

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Last Saturday, Vegard Stake Laengen also pulled out with Covid-19, which means that Pogacar’s team are now down to six riders going into a gruelling week in the Alps.

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Pogacar leads the overall standings, 39 seconds ahead of Dane Jonas Vingegaard.

Tuesday’s 10th stage is a 148-km mountain trek to Megeve.

Earlier on Tuesday, Australian Luke Durbridge was also pulled out after testing positive for Covid-19, his Bike Exchange-Jayco team said.

“Unfortunately Luke Durbridge has tested positive for Covid-19 this morning. Durbridge has very mild symptoms & will not start today’s stage 10,” the Australian outfit said in a statement.

Bennett is the fifth rider to leave the race with a positive Covid-19 test since the start on 1 July.

All riders had been tested on Sunday night and all tests had returned negative.

Last year, if two members of a team tested positive for Covid the whole outfit would be sent packing, which is not the case in this edition.

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Whether a rider who tests positive can stay in the race is decided following a meeting between race, International Cycling Union (UCI) and team doctors, depending on the rider’s viral load.

Reuters

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