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QuickStep-AlphaVinyl's Tour de France success hit by COVID-19 cases amongst staff

Dutch Fabio Jakobsen of QuickStep Alpha Vinyl pictured in action during the team presentation ahead of the 109th edition of the Tour de France cycling race in Copenhagen Denmark Wednesday 29 June 2022 This years Tour de France takes place from 01 to 24 July 2022 and starts with three stages in Denmark BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS Photo by JASPER JACOBS BELGA MAG Belga via AFP Photo by JASPER JACOBSBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
QuickStep-AlphaVinyl at the 2022 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Celebrations for Yves Lampaert’s success in the Tour de France opening time trial turned to fear and concern at QuickStep-AlphaVinyl late on Friday night after new cases of COVID-19 emerged amongst key team staff.   

QuickStep-AlphaVinyl revealed that lead directeur sportif Tom Steels tested positive late in the day, forcing Luca Bramati to dash from Italy to take his place in the team car. 

The team’s press officer Phil Lowe then confirmed to Cyclingnews that he was also positive after a late-night test, while team manager Patrick Lefevere has revealed that mechanic Lounes Verschaeve and food manager Karolien Rector have also tested positive recently. 

Communications manager Alessandro Tegner and osteopath Steven Vrancken both tested positive before travelling to the Tour de France and stayed at home.

Tim Declercq tested positive on arrival in Denmark and was quickly sent home and replaced by French national champion Florian Sénéchal. 

QuickStep-AlphaVinyl are targeting sprint victories at the Tour de France with Fabio Jakobsen.

That means QuickStep-AlphaVinyl has suffered seven positive cases in six days, five of them at the Tour de France Grand Depart in Denmark. 

“However beautifully the Tour has started, the fear is still there. COVID is going around in our team and that is genuinely stressful. Every time my phone rings, I hold my heart. We're getting more than our fair share right now,” Lefevere said in his latest blog for Nieuwsblad. 

“Fortunately, the staff largely work separately from the riders but it is not all that reassuring. It also punches holes in our organisation. If you take someone with you to the Tour, it is because that person has added value.”

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Stephen Farrand
Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.