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Pogacar and Hirschi negative for COVID-19 and clear to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) at Tirreno-Adriatico
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) at Tirreno-Adriatico (Image credit: Getty Images)

Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar and Marc Hirschi will both line up for UAE Team Emirates at Liège-Bastogne-Liège after the team returned negative COVID-19 tests on Friday evening. 

"On Friday the entire team undertook a COVID-19 test along with every other team as per the race protocol," the team told Cyclingnews on Saturday morning.

"Happy to report all these tests produced negative results and the team has received confirmation from the race Covid Committee that we are all clear to race tomorrow at Liege-Bastogne-Liege."

The team were stopped from riding Wednesday's La Flèche Wallonne after two positive COVID-19 tests earlier in the week, which, according to multiple reports, involved Diego Ulissi and team manager Mauro Gianetti. 

They underwent further tests before La Flèche Wallonne and were negative for COVID-19, suggesting the cases were false positives. However, under the strict Belgian Cycling Federation COVID-19 protocol, the whole team was stopped from racing on Wednesday. 

However, Pogačar and other riders completed a 200km reconnaissance ride of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège route, with the Tour de France winner also setting a new Strava personal best on the Côte de Stockeu climb. 

The team will line up with Pogacar, Hirschi, David de la Cruz, Rui Costa, Davide Formolo, Brandon McNulty, and Vegard Stake Laengen.

Pogacar didn't race Amstel Gold Race but recently finished second overall in the Tour of the Basque Country. The 22-year-old won both Tirreno-Adriatico and the UAE Tour earlier in the season and finished third in Liège-Bastogne-Liège last year. Hirschi has been struggling for form since his shock move from Team DSM over the winter.

The 2020 La Flèche Wallonne winner was forced to start his season late and then needed surgery on his teeth. He has been used as a domestique so far this year and finished 35th in Amstel Gold Race.

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