Lars van der Haar shares his experiences of suffering from coronavirus

The cyclocross star spent six weeks off the bike after falling ill

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lars van der Haar has shared his experiences after falling ill with coronavirus.

The Dutch cyclocross and road racer became unwell after returning home from a skiing trip following the close of his cyclocross season, and he quickly realised it was Covid-19.

After suffering from fatigue, Van der Haar then developed a fever and said his lunges began to burn when breathing.

The 28-year-old spent six weeks off the bike as his symptoms continued, saying he was worried for his health.

Telenet-Baloise rider Van der Haar told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad: “Still I had lung pain for two weeks and at some point I noticed that my sense of smell and taste were gone."

“When I started training again, I did not cycle for more than two hours in two weeks. At a low intensity, to make sure those lungs had time to recover.”

But Van der Haar is now back to intensive training and says he’s happy with his form, as he competed in the GP Vermarc Sport Kermesse in Belgium over the weekend.

Coronavirus first hit the pro peloton back in March at the UAE Tour, as the race was abandoned due to the illness and three riders later tested positive.

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) confirmed he was one of the riders that had contracted the virus, as he was kept under quarantine in the Emirates before being released in late March.

His lead-out rider Max Richeze was also diagnosed along with coronavirus at the race, along with Dmitry Strakhov from Gazprom-RusvVelo.

The racing calendar was suspended by the UCI not long after the UAE Tour, as the coronavirus crisis worsened.

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But racing is now expected to return in the next few weeks, with Strade Bianche set to be the first WorldTour race on August 1.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.