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Bouchard, Laengen out of Tour with COVID

Geoffrey Bouchard and Vegard Stake Laengen have become the first Tour de France riders to pull out of the race with COVID-19.

Shortly after Bouchard’s withdrawal on Saturday, UAE Team Emirates said Norwegian Laengen, a teammate of overall leader Tadej Pogacar, had tested positive.

“Vegard tested negative yesterday morning during the routine internal team testing protocol. But he reported sore throat symptoms late last night,” team doctor Adriano Rotunno said.

“The COVID-19 antigen test was positive, and the diagnosis was confirmed on a PCR test this morning. As per protocol, for his, the team, and the peloton’s safety he will be withdrawn from the race.”

Frenchman Bouchard, 30, won the mountains classification at the 2019 Vuelta a Espana and in last year’s Giro d’Italia.

“During the (seventh) stage (on Friday) I did not feel well. It’s a huge disappointment because we were just getting to my favourite terrain, the mountains,” Bouchard said in a team statement.

AG2R-Citroen said that the rest of their squad, from whom Bouchard had been isolated, were negative for COVID-19.

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