59 UAE Team Emirates riders and staff receive coronavirus vaccine

Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar was among those who received the jab

59 UAE Team Emirates riders and support staff have been vaccinated against Covid-19, including Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar.

27 riders and 32 staff members received the vaccine this week in Abu Dhabi, specifically China’s Sinopharm CNBG vaccine, which has been approved by the UAE Ministry of Health & Prevention.

When the team announced they were planning on getting vaccinated last month, team owner Mauro Gianetti said it would be up to each individual whether they chose to receive the vaccination, with Gianetti having already received it after being part of a group of volunteers who tried out the Sinopharm Group vaccine.

“As a UAE team we are enormously proud of the efforts the nation and its leadership has taken at every level to both combat the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and to be a leader in the efforts to bring life back to normal.

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“The whole team is delighted to have been given the opportunity to protect ourselves and others through taking the vaccine and we would like to congratulate the UAE and all partners of this program for their incredible work to make this happen.”

During the team’s annual trip to the UAE, they presented Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, a member of Dubai’s ruling family, with the yellow jersey they won at last summer’s Tour de France. Their first race of the 2021 season will be Challenge Mallorca on January 28.

UAE Team Emirates are the first WorldTour team to receive a coronavirus vaccine, while a senior Olympic official has called for athletes to be prioritised for vaccinations so that the Games can go ahead in Tokyo this summer.

The British Olympic Association are said to be in talks with the UK Government over securing coronavirus vaccines to ensure British athletes are able to compete.