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Tour de France

Tom Pidcock on UAE COVID woes: ‘It’s not ideal for them’

Tour rookie says Ineos Grenadiers must be tactical in its numbers because 'we are not racing crap riders' at Tour de France.

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Tom Pidcock said UAE Team Emirates growing COVID-19 woes are ‘not ideal’ for yellow jersey leader Tadej Pogačar at the Tour de France.

Speaking before the start of stage 10, the Ineos Grenadiers Tour rookie said the exit of George Bennett from the Tour will complicate matters for the two-time defending champion.

“It’s not ideal for them, and they could find it more and more difficult to control the race,” Pidcock said. “They showed the other day they are strong, and they did a good job of controlling — not ideal for them.”

That’s putting it mildly.

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UAE lost Bennett on Tuesday a few days after Vegard Stake Laengen also pulled out with COVID-19.

The team also revealed that top helper Rafal Majka is also showing traces of the coronavirus, but due to the light viral load, he is able to continue under the guidance of team doctors.

Pidcock on tactics: ‘We are not racing crap riders’

Ineos Grenadiers will have its antenna up and quickly placed two riders into a big 25-rider group that pulled away midway through Tuesday’s short climbing stage.

Filippo Ganna and Dylan van Baarle were off the front mid-stage, setting the team up for a possible run at the stage win or to have legs up the road if there’s chaos in the GC group.

Pidcock started Tuesday’s stage seventh at 1:46 back. Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates also remain in the top 10, in third and fourth, respectively.

Pidcock said the team plans to use its numerical advantage but do it tactically.

“It’s one thing trying something, we have to do it in a smart way,” he said. “We are not racing crap riders. These are the best riders in the world and the strongest teams in the world, so you cannot just waste your energy and send riders up the road for the sake of it.

“At the right time and in a clever way, of course, we need to use the numbers.”

Tom Pidcock at Tuesday’s start. (Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)