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Yves Lampaert concerned about catching COVID-19 during Tour de France

Yves Lampaert (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) on stage 2 at the Tour de France
Yves Lampaert (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) on stage 2 at the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images)

Yves Lampaert proudly showed off his race leader’s yellow jersey on stage 2 of the Tour de France but admitted he was concerned about the growing cluster of COVID-19 cases in the QuickStep-AlphaVinyl team.

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

Late on Friday, QuickStep-AlphaVinyl revealed that lead directeur sportif Tom Steels tested positive late in the day, forcing Davide Bramati to dash from Italy to take his place in the team car. Three other staff members have recently tested positive and two others were positive and so unable to travel to Denmark.

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

Lampaert wore a FFP2 mask as he spoke to the media before the start of stage 2.

“I’ve never had COVID-19 in the last two and half years, to have it now, in the next few days, would be a real pity,” Lampaert said.

“At the start of the Tour I wasn’t that afraid yesterday, I am. At the finish there were a lot of people congratulating me and I hugged a lot of people too. Then some in the team were COVID-19 positive just two hours later. That makes you start to think and worry and maybe think that I could catch it.”

Lampaert was overjoyed to win the Copenhagen time trial and pull on the first yellow jersey but Steels' positive dampened the celebrations and made everyone at QuickStep-AlphaVinyl faer more cautious.    

“Tom’s my coach and the guy who was behind me in the team car for the time trial on Friday. It’s a pity I couldn’t celebrate with him last night,” Lampaert explained.

“We had a video call as he travelled home, that wasn’t as much fun but I hope he recovers well and can come back to the Tour soon.

“The focus on the race is still there and it’s special to wear the yellow jersey and try to help Fabio Jakobsen in the sprints. It’s just annoying that we have to take care of all the other stuff that wasn’t there before COVID-19. Now we have to wear weak masks, use gel on our hands and be careful. Hopefully it is enough to protect us.”

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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.