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Froome is the second Israel-Premier Tech rider to depart the race early after contracting the virus. Simon Clarke abandoned the race ahead of stage 15 for the same reason.
The team did not state whether Froome had shown symptoms of the virus but stated that all of its remaining riders had returned negative tests and would ride on.
“Unfortunately, I have some pretty disappointing news to share with you this morning, a test has revealed that I contracted COVID so I won’t be taking the start today,” Froome said in a video he posted on social media. “I’m really disappointed not to be able to roll into Paris and finish this Tour de France, it has been a really special race for us as a team and for me personally.
“I’ve been finding my legs again and I want to thank everyone for all the support through this process. I’m going to head home now, switch off for a few days and refocus on being ready for the Vuelta a España later this season.”
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“Unfortunately, Chris Froome won’t take the start of stage 18 as a test taken shortly before the start has revealed that Chris has contracted Covid. The remaining IPT riders all tested negative and are ready to race,” Israel-Premier Tech wrote on Twitter.
Israel-Premier Tech is down to just five riders after Jakob Fuglsang quit on the rest day following a high-speed crash that left him with a broken rib and also forced Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) to abandon.
Despite losing some riders, the team has enjoyed a good Tour de France with two stage victories. Clarke took a victory on the cobbles in the opening week, while Hugo Houle took an emotional win from the breakaway on stage 16.
Froome had been having a far better Tour de France than he had when he made his return to the race last season. He came third on the stage to Alpe d’Huez after being dropped by Tom Pidcock and Louis Meintjes.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) July 21, 2022