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Mohoric suggests Epstein Barr Virus and COVID-19 held him back at Tour de France

SONDERBORG DENMARK JULY 03 Matej Mohoric of Slovenia and Team Bahrain Victorious during the team presentation prior to the 109th Tour de France 2022 Stage 3 a 182km stage from Vejle to Snderborg TDF2022 WorldTour on July 03 2022 in Sonderborg Denmark Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
Matej Mohoric at the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Matej Mohorič has suggested his lacklustre performances at the Tour de France could be due to illness, revealing he has had a recent COVID-19 infection and possibly also contracted Epstein Barr Virus. 

The Slovenian, whose Bahrain Victorious team were again subject to police raids at the Tour, won two stages at last year's edition but was a largely anonymous presence this time around. 

His performances and his fatigue in the aftermath of the Tour led him to undergo blood tests, which he says highlighted that his body had been hit by illness. 

"I haven't been feeling great at the Tour and I struggled to recover afterwards," Mohorič wrote in a social media statement. 

"The blood checks revealed I had an asymptomatic covid infection and that I possibly also had an Epstein-Barr virus infection recently. 

"I will take more time to rest and hopefully start feeling better in time for more racing before season ends."

Mohorič finished the Tour, meaning he returned negative tests for COVID-19 ahead of the race and during the official testing on the two main rest days, plus in any internal rapid tests carried out by his team.

He did not indicate when he might have had COVID, although it may well have been in advance of the Tour, giving him time to test negative but perhaps leaving after-effects despite the absence of symptoms. 

As for Epstein Barr Virus, Mohorič was more vague but it's a virus that causes mononucleosis, which can severely affect performance over a long period of time. Mark Cavendish struggled with it for a number of years, citing the typical symptoms of extreme fatigue. 

Mohorič will now take a period of rest but indicated his desire to return to racing before the end of the season. After winning Milan-San Remo in the spring, the late-season Classics and the World Championships in Australia could be on the agenda in the autumn. 

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