Peter Sagan has tested positive for COVID-19 at a pre-season training camp in Gran Canaria, Spain, his Bora-Hansgrohe team has announced.
Sagan, his brother Juraj and teammate Erik Baška – who were at a private training camp together – have all tested positive for the virus and have all entered quarantine. Bora-Hansgrohe report that all three riders are “doing well”.
“For a few weeks now, my brother Juraj, our teammate Erik Baška, and I have been training in Gran Canaria,” Peter Sagan said via team press release. “On January 29, we had a PCR test done in a local laboratory in order to be able to fly back home.
“Unfortunately, the results weren’t what we would have hoped for and all three of us tested positive for COVID-19. We are all feeling well but, obviously, since that day, we have remained in quarantine. From the moment we received the positive test results, we have had the full support of the team and I’d like to thank our manager Ralph Denk and our medical department for this.
“Although we are thousands of kilometres away and in isolation, we always felt as if we were right next to them. We are kept under continuous remote supervision and will remain here for as long as required. Hopefully, our next test results will be negative so that we can resume our normal training schedule as soon as possible.”
Bora-Hansgrohe’s head of medical Christopher Edler said that the three riders had tested positive for the virus several times, meaning that chances of false positives – which have affected riders, including EF Education-Nippo’s Jonas Rutsch this year – are low.
“Peter, Erik and Juraj tested positive for the SARS-Cov-2 virus several times via independent PCR tests,” Edler said. “All three are exhibiting mild, general symptoms of illness and at this time are able to remain in domestic quarantine in accordance with state guidelines until they recover. There remains close communication with the medical team. Once quarantine has been completed, further comprehensive medical evaluations are planned.”
Team manager Ralph Denk added that the starting date for the riders this season is now in doubt as a result of the positive tests and resulting quarantines. Peter Sagan is due to kick off his 2021 campaign at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on February 27-28. Baška, meanwhile, was set to ride the Tour de la Provence, which starts on February 11.
“The timing is certainly not ideal, but then again, there is no good time to become ill with COVID,” Denk said. “Peter was – and is – extremely motivated, and that’s why he was already quite far along in his preparatory build up for the season. But the most important thing now is that all three are well and not displaying any severe symptoms.
“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.”
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, set to be held was cancelled.
It has been a tough year around the team, too, after a seven of Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe teammates were hit by a car during a training camp in Italy last month. Wilco Kelderman and Andreas Schillinger came off the worst, suffering fractured verterbrae as a result of the incident.