Remco Evenepoel has decided to not receive a Covid-19 vaccine prior to the Giro d’Italia in case any side effects harm his preparation for the first race back since his Il Lombardia crash.
The 21-year-old would have had the option to get vaccinated next week, as part of the 170 Olympic and Paralympic Belgian athletes being offered a Pfizer or Moderna jab ahead of this summer’s Games, but will instead opt to receive it after completing the Italian Grand Tour.
“I highly recommend it to all our riders, but for Remco it is just bad timing,” Deceuninck – Quick-Step doctor Philip Jansen told Het Laatste Nieuws. “In view of the Olympics, we will certainly have it done, but not a week and a half before the Giro. It’s just too close, especially after everything that has already gone wrong.”
Evenepoel won’t race in the build-up to the Giro d’Italia, or even recon a single stage, as he looks to improve his condition as much as possible before the start in Turin on May 8. Having already ruled himself out of contention for the maglia rosa, having been one of the pre-race favourites for the 2020 editions before his season was cut short, Evenepoel will focus on the Olympic Games as his main goal for the year.
While the Belgian will receive a vaccination between the end of the Giro and the Olympic Games, medical tests have revealed Evenepoel has a large number of coronavirus antibodies already, suggesting he had an asoymptomatic Covid-19 infection at some point in the past year.
“Remco already has a high number of antibodies in his body. He already had those last year and they have remained sky-high,” Jansen explained.
“It is not clear to us exactly when [these antibodies began to appear]. He has never been ill. There’s also no-one in his direct circle who contracted an infection. But we do see antibodies appear more often in people who have experienced the virus asymptomatically.”