Lennard Hofstede set to return to action with Jumbo-Visma after team withdrew him for refusing Covid-19 vaccine

The Dutch rider could make his return at Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne, five months after his last race

Lennard Hofstede Jumbo-Visma return refusing Covid-19 vaccine
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jumbo-Visma will allow Lennard Hofstede to return to training with the team after withdrawing him for multiple months because of his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Hofstede hasn't competed since the CRO Race at the beginning of October 2021, and his refusal to take the vaccine meant Jumbo-Visma didn't allow him to participate at either of the training camps in Girona and Alicante, in December and January respectively. 

With UCI rules stating the requirement for riders to enter team bubbles at races was either full vaccination or a negative PCR test, Jumbo-Visma took the decision to add extra precautions of their own, consequently removing Hofstede from team training camps.

Jumbo-Visma sporting director Merijn Zeeman explained the team maintained a good relationship with the Dutch rider and his management during that period though, with a view to allow Hofstede back into the team always intended.

"We are currently in a different phase of the pandemic than at the beginning of the year," Zeeman told WielerFlits (opens in new tab).

“We had regulations in different countries and UCI rules. We didn't want to take any risk at the time. With a view to vaccinations, we had a straightforward medical policy. That was before Omicron. 

"We have always had good contact with Lennard and his management and there has always been understanding from both sides. We have indicated that we will meet again as soon as the situation has improved. That is now the case.”

Now the 27-year-old is allowed back into the team environment, he could make his racing return sooner than expected too, with the Dutch outfit suffering a number of injuries and positive Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks of racing.

Hofstede is scheduled to race at the Minerva Classic Brugge-De Panne on March 23 alongside team-mates Pascal Eenkhoorn, Timo Roosen and Mike Teunissen, though it is just a preliminary start list.

Discussing this possibility, Zeeman suggests the team could benefit from Hofstede's return.

“Perhaps Hofstede will be drafted earlier because we are dealing with a number of injuries and corona infections," Zeeman said. 

"You now see that there are quite a few positive cases after a stage race. We were confronted with it in and after Valencia and the Algarve. Fortunately, we made it through the UAE Tour and the opening weekend in Flanders well.”

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Hi, I'm a Trainee News Writer at Cycling Weekly. 


I have worked for Future across its various sports titles since December 2020, writing news for Cycling Weekly, FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture. I am currently studying for a NCTJ qualification alongside my role as Trainee News Writer at the company. 


Prior to joining Future I attended Cardiff University, earning a degree in Journalism & Communications.