First COVID withdrawals from the 2022 Tour de France

AG2R’s Geoffrey Bouchard and Team UAE Emirates’ Vegard Stake Laengen became the first Tour de France riders to pull out of the race due to COVID-19.

On Saturday morning, just after confirmation of Bouchard’s withdrawal, UAE Team Emirates said that their Norwegian rider Vegard Stake Laengen had tested positive. Laengen is a teammate of the current race leader, Tadej Pogacar and does a lot of the early ard work in stages at the front of the peloton.

“Vegard tested negative yesterday morning during the routine internal team testing protocol. But he reported sore throat symptoms late last night

“The COVID-19 antigen test was positive, and the diagnosis was confirmed on a PCR test this morning. As per protocol, for his, the team, and the peloton’s safety he will be withdrawn from the race.”

Adriano Rotunno, Team UAE Emirates team doctor
Vegard Stake Laengen

Frenchman Bouchard, winner of the mountains classification at the 2019 Vuelta a Espana and also in last year’s Giro d’Italia, also withdrew before the start of today’s stage 8.

“During the (seventh) stage (on Friday) I did not feel well. It’s a huge disappointment because we were just getting to my favourite terrain, the mountains”

Geoffrey Bouchard

AG2R confirmed that they had isolated Bouchard and that the rest of the team had tested negative.