Tadej Pogačar and Marc Hirschi have been giving the all-clear to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday after the entire UAE Team Emirates entourage returned negative Covid-19 tests.
Rider Diego Ulissi and another staff member had returned positive tests, then returning negative results in subsequent tests but the rules of Belgian authorities forbidding them from taking the start line.
“We all have [tested] negative and we don’t start Flèche Wallone. We had false-positives yesterday but were three times negative afterwards,” Pogačar said on Wednesday, proceeding to go out for a monster recon of nearly the entire Liège route, a ‘watch out’ to his rivals should he be allowed back on the start line for the final Monument of the spring.
A nervy wait ensued but on Saturday morning UAE Team Emirates confirmed that all PCR tests had come back negative and the WorldTour outfit would be on the start line in Liège.
“On Friday all riders & staff undertook a Covid-19 PCR test along with every other team as per the race protocol,” the team said.
“Happy to report all these tests produced negative results and the team has received confirmation from the race Covid Committee that we are all clear to race tomorrow at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”
As well as Pogačar, UAE Team Emirates line-up with last year’s runner-up, Marc Hirschi, who was unable to defend his Flèche title and will be seeking a first victory for his new team.
After Liège, Hirschi is expected to line-up up at two home stage races, the Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse, before the French Grand Tour, while Pogačar will use the Dauphiné to prepare for his defence of the yellow jersey.