Tom Pidcock's hopes of a Tour de France debut have been given a boost, with the Ineos Grenadiers rider back on the bike after a quick recovery from COVID-19.
However, it has taken just five days for him to get the virus out of his system.
On Wednesday morning, Pidcock posted a photo of a negative test on social media. He took the opportunity to get straight back out on his bike, publishing details of a 56km ride near his home in Andorra.
The previous evening, he had already done an hour-long ride on his indoor trainer.
With nine days until the Grand Départ in Copenhagen, provided he suffers no lingering after-effects of the virus, Pidcock could be on course to ride the Tour for the first time.
"Game on," was the caption Pidcock chose when uploading his latest ride to Strava.
Pidcock has done two short rides and will likely ease his way back into training, in line with team and UCI post-COVID protocols. The UCI also recommends health tests, including a heart exam, before full training is resumed but Ineos Grenadiers have yet to confirm to Cyclingnews if and when this is planned.
Pidcock's Andorra ride took him on a 56.79km out-and-back route from his home in the mountains down to the Spanish border. He descended from 1800 metres to 900 metres, before turning around and climbing back home, with the total elevation gain a shade over 1000 metres.
Pidcock completed the ride in just under two hours, at an average speed of almost 30km/h.
Pidcock was set to ride the Giro d'Italia this year but reshuffled his plans and has been a firm fixture on the Ineos Grenadiers long list for the Tour de France, which would be his second Grand Tour after riding the Vuelta a España last year.
Ineos Grenadiers' Tour de France line-up is complicated by the fact that Adam Yates, designated as their leader, also had to leave the Tour de Suisse with COVID-19, a day earlier than Pidcock. It is not clear whether he has overcome the virus and started riding again.
In Yates' absence, Geraint Thomas went on to win the Tour de Suisse and put himself in the leadership frame, along with Colombian Dani Martínez.
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Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist, and former deputy editor of Cyclingnews, who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.