Jul 14, 2022 - Sports

Tadej Pogačar loses Tour de France lead after teammates get COVID

Climbing the Alps in the Tour de France
Climbing the Alps. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images

The Tour de France's two-time defending champion Tadej Pogačar lost the yellow jersey in the Alps on Wednesday, thanks in part to a familiar opponent: COVID-19.

Driving the news: After losing two key teammates (and nearly a third) to positive tests, Slovenia's Pogačar stumbled during the first big mountain stage and now trails first-place Jonas Vingegaard by over two minutes.

Catch up fast: UAE Team Emirates teammate Vegard Stake Laengen, who rode the past two Tours at Pogacar's side, left last week after a positive test.

  • On Tuesday, Pogačar lost George Bennett, a talented climber who would have helped him tremendously on Wednesday.
  • A third teammate, Rafal Majka, also tested positive on Tuesday — but was allowed to continue because his viral load presented "a very low risk of infectivity," per the team.

Where it stands: Denmark's Vingegaard went from 39 seconds behind Pogačar to 2 minutes and 22 seconds ahead of him. Pogačar fell to third on general classification, six seconds behind France's Romain Bardet.

  • "We were talking about Tadej against the world," said cyclist turned analyst Robbie McEwen. "Now it's Tadej versus COVID."
  • "I want ... revenge," Pogačar said Wednesday. "It's not over yet."

What's next: Today's Stage 12 (of 21) comes on Bastille Day and features three big climbs and a mountain-top finish at the Alpe d'Huez ski resort.

Go deeper: Recapping an extraordinary Stage 11 (The Telegraph)

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