Marianne Vos will miss Paris-Roubaix Femmes after she tested positive for COVID-19 just hours before the race. The Dutchwoman placed second in the inaugural edition last year after a determined pursuit of lone winner Lizzie Deignan.
“The disappointment is enormous,” Vos said in a statement released by her Jumbo-Visma team on Saturday morning.
“I have been looking forward to this match. When I tested positive this morning, the world came crashing down for a moment. But I support the team's policy. You should not take any risks with your health. I'm going home, I'm taking a rest and I hope I continue to feel good.”
Vos returned the positive test on Saturday morning, just hours before the start of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, as part of Jumbo-Visma’s daily COVID-19 testing regimen. A second test confirmed the positive case.
The rest of Jumbo-Visma’s line-up – Romy Kasper, Coryn Labecki, Linda Riedmann, Teuntje Beekhuis and Riejanne Markus – tested negative and will thus start Paris-Roubaix.
Vos was clearly one of the key riders to beat on Saturday, as with Deignan out of the running she was set to be the top-ranked rider from last year on the line. She also had marked the race as a clear target, skipping her title defence at Amstel Gold in order to focus on the second running of the cobbled women's race.
On the eve of the race, all was looking on track for the Jumbo-Visma rider and there was no indication that there would be anything to stop here lining up in the special edition team.
"I'm fit, I'm really looking forward to it, the tyre pressures have been tested extensively, and we are well prepared as a team," said Vos on the eve of the race.
“I know it's a cliché, but it's true. You can't do without a bit of luck, especially in these kinds of competitions," added Vos. "You must have a good day and must not have a material breakdown. We'll see how it goes."
Now, though, Vos will have to wait to next year to see how it goes as that luck wasn't with her before she reached the start line.
Had COVID-19 not intervened Jumbo-Visma would likely have been entering the race with a key favourite in both the women's and men’s edition. Unlike Vos, Wout van Aert will be in the team for the Sunday’s men’s race, however, after the rider missed the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold Race due to COVID-19 he will be lining up not as a leader but in a support role.
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Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.
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