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Jumbo-Visma boss Plugge reveals coronavirus hospitalisation

Team manager Richard Plugge
Jumbo-Visma boss Richard Plugge (Image credit: Bert Geerts/dcp-bertgeerts@xs4all.nl)

Jumbo-Visma team manager Richard Plugge has revealed that he spent time in hospital after catching COVID-19 last month. The Dutchman said in a post on his LinkedIn page that he was hospitalised six weeks ago and spent two weeks being treated before he was released.

Plugge is the latest of a number of pro riders and staff who have been treated for COVID-19. Previous positives came at the UAE Tour, where UAE Team Emirates riders Fernando Gaviria and Max Richeze were among those to catch the coronavirus, as well as Gazprom-RusVelo riders Igor Boev and Dmitry Strakhov.

"More than six weeks ago I was hospitalised with corona," wrote Plugge. "I had an incredibly tough fortnight with high fever and anxious moments. Thanks to the good care of the medical workers, I came through.

"I'm still recovering, even though I left home almost five weeks ago. What I saw and experienced in the hospital was shocking; the pressure, the unknown, difficult circumstances. Big respect to all medical workers.

"Please, for yourself, society and your beloved ones; keep self-control, live up to the measures for as long as necessary."

The Netherlands is currently on lockdown like much of Europe – though lighter than the likes of Italy and Spain – having initially pursued a herd immunity strategy. This week, the Dutch government announced that primary schools would reopen in early May and people can still cycle outdoors.

Jumbo-Visma were among the first teams to take action as COVID-19 spread across Europe, pulling out of Strade Bianche and Paris-Nice before the races were cancelled and shortened, respectively.

Plugge said that the team are looking forward to getting back to racing, whenever that may be, though only if safety can be guaranteed.

"As for pro cycling and Team Jumbo-Visma, we are really looking forward to racing again as soon as possible," he said. 

"However, this should be done in a safe way, with consent from the governments, preserving the health and safety of riders, teams and organisers as priority number one.

"With a good plan, scenarios, testing, quarantine etcetera, it might be possible. I hope so. If we can race that would mean the corona situation is either under control or gone. That would be good news for all of us.

"In the meantime, I can tell you, I've been there. It is a very nasty and severe disease. So use your head; stay safe, stay at home as much as you can. Take care of yourselves."