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Tour de France

Gino Mäder out of Tour de France contention as Suisse COVID wave creeps forward

Peter Sagan, Adam Yates, Aleksandr Vlasov among victims of Suisse COVID wave yet to be confirmed for France.

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Gino Mäder is out of Tour de France contention with COVID as the pandemic’s tentacles creep toward the biggest race of the year.

Swiss climbing ace Mäder confirmed Thursday he won’t be one of Bahrain-Victorious’ eight riders for the Tour after returning a series of positive coronavirus tests in the aftermath of the Tour de Suisse.

“My daily corona tests are still positive,” Mäder told Blick.

Mäder was one of scores of riders to take an early exit from Tour de Suisse earlier this month. The 25-year-old abandoned with gastro problems before returning several positive COVID tests in the following week.

“My team wants to be able to plan, which I fully understand,” Mäder said. “I haven’t been on my bike for a week now. And I don’t want to compromise the rest of the season by trying to force something now. That would be too risky for me.”

Bahrain-Victorious, Jumbo-Visma, UAE Emirates, Alpecin-Fenix, and Jumbo-Visma all pulled entire teams from Tour de Suisse as COVID and gastrointestinal issues cut a path through the peloton.

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Mäder is the first big name that started the Swiss race to confirm COVID culled him from Tour de France contention as anticipation builds for the Grand Départ next Friday.

Peter Sagan and yellow jersey contenders Adam Yates and Aleksandr Vlasov are among the high-profile victims of the Suisse coronavirus wave that haven’t yet been confirmed for their Tour de France teams.

Jumbo-Visma superdomestique Rohan Dennis wasn’t one of the eight his Dutch crew revealed earlier this week due to the lingering impact of stomach problems that struck him at Tour de Suisse.

Riders that left Suisse ahead of time but have booked their flight for France are scrambling to bank the training load staffers had anticipated.

“A part of their preparation toward the Tour was to ride those longer climbs in Tour de Suisse at a high intensity and a long time trial at a high intensity. So that’s quite a big loss, to be honest,” Jumbo-Visma trainer Mathieu Heijboer told VeloNews last week.

“It’s a little bit worrying they don’t get the efforts that they would need as part of the preparation.”

Mäder is already setting his sights on a late-summer trip to Spain after finishing fifth in last year’s Vuelta a España and winning the youth category.

“A year without a grand tour would be very sobering and I know that the Vuelta can be a good basis for the following season,” he said.

The expectation is that Bahrain-Victorious will be led by Jack Haig and Damiano Caruso for the Tour.