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Peter Sagan to miss Opening Weekend despite recovering from COVID-19

Team Bora rider Slovakias Peter Sagan celebrates as he crosses the finish line in the 10th stage of the Giro dItalia 2020 cycling race a 177kilometer route between Lanciano and Tortoreto on October 13 2020 Photo by Luca Bettini AFP Photo by LUCA BETTINIAFP via Getty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Peter Sagan will miss the Opening Weekend of races in Belgium at the end of February despite recovering from COVID-19 after ten days of quarantine on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. 

Sagan’s race programme has still to be confirmed by Bora-Hansgrohe, but he is likely to return to racing at Strade Bianche on Saturday, March 6. He will then ride Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo to try to rapidly find his form before he heads to Belgium for the cobbled Classics.

Sagan, his brother Juraj and Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Erik Baška tested positive for COVID-19 ten days ago during a privately organised training camp in Gran Canaria. They were obliged to quarantine for ten days under Spanish COVID-19 regulations, with the riders only allowed to do some core work while obliged to stay indoors. 

Sagan has since started training outdoors again and Cyclingnews understands he has opted to stay on the Spanish island to continue warm-weather training and try to make up for the loss of key training.         

As per the UCI COVID-19 medical protocol, Sagan and his teammates will have to undergo a series of detailed check-ups to confirm they are fit to train and race. These include blood tests and MRI scans of the heart, an X-ray of the lungs, and a spirometry lung test.

It's not the first misfortune to befall Sagan this year, having been caught up in a training camp crash on his birthday last month. His start to the season was also postponed after the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Reports in Belgium suggest new Bora-Hansgrohe signing Nils Politt will now lead the German team in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. He recently finished third at the Etoile des Besseges. 

"The timing is certainly not ideal, but then again, there is no good time to become ill with COVID," team manager Ralph Denk said when it first emerged Sagan was suffering from COVID-19.

"Our medical department is in very close contact with them, and the care that they are receiving is as optimal as is possible. What this means for the start of the season cannot yet be exactly known. First, all three must be fully healthy again and receive medical clearance, and then we can consider what the next steps will be."