Wout van Aert shouldn't race Paris-Roubaix after positive Covid-19 test, doctors claim

His Jumbo-Visma team will wait to see if he is fully fit before confirming his involvement, or lack thereof, in the Monument

Wout Van Aert
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Doctors have suggested Wout van Aert shouldn't race Paris-Roubaix on April 17, claiming he needs time to regain full fitness after testing positive for Covid-19 last week.

After returning a positive test last Thursday, Van Aert has spent a week in isolation, as per Belgium's rules. He missed the Tour of Flanders as a result, and Jumbo-Visma haven't confirmed when he will return to racing now he is able to leave his home.

Instead, the team will wait until Van Aert feels fit again, which could put his Paris-Roubaix involvement in jeopardy.

Jumbo-Visma's sporting director Arthur van Dongen told Het Laatste Nieuws: "It's too early to say anything sensible about that [his return].

“The first step in the process is to wait until Wout is no longer ill. We cannot say how many days that will take. When he feels fit again, we will do some medical checks. If those are good, the last step will come: then we have to see if it makes sense to let him race in terms of performance.”

UCI regulations stipulate riders to complete a series of medical and physiological tests in their return to racing from Covid-19. In order to compete in Paris-Roubaix next weekend, Van Aert would therefore have to prove his fitness to both his team and the governing body.

However, doctors have argued he shouldn't start the race at all.

In response to Belgian pundit Michel Wuyts, who claimed Van Aert had a "50-50" chance of starting Paris-Roubaix, virologist Marc Van Ranst said the Jumbo-Visma shouldn't race the Monument so soon after contracting the virus.  

Van Ranst tweeted: "The chance of Roubaix should not be 50-50 but zero. After a Covid-19 infection, the body (and thus the heart) should not be overloaded too quickly. Wout van Aert will win Paris-Roubaix, but not this year. It's best for professional athletes to take a full recovery and then build up slowly."

Belgian Cycling doctor, Tom Tueglinkx, concurs, suggesting a longer rest is preferable. Despite this, he also acknowledges Van Aert only suffered with mild symptoms of the virus, therefore making his situation somewhat different to the guidelines.

Tueglinkx said: "Our guideline is that after an infection you stay on the sidelines for at least seven, preferably 10, days. That's the general rule, but the final decision lies with the team doctor. One advantage is that Wout only had mild symptoms."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1