The Covid continues to thin the ranks of the Tour de France peloton and could well be the (bad) surprise guest of the second week of racing. Sunday July 10, it was Guillaume Martin who was forced to retire before the start of the 9th stage, in Aigle (Switzerland).

The rider from the Cofidis team, who finished first in France in the 2021 Tour (in eighth place), is the third rider in the peloton to leave the race for reasons of Covid.

“I only have a very slight sore throat, it’s frustrating. Yesterday (Saturday) I had very good feelings at the finish of the stage in Lausanne. I even felt that I was mounting pressure,” explained Guillaume Martin, 14th in the general classification before his retirement.

“The other Cofidis riders and the entire staff were also tested and their results were all negative. The team will carry out a new compulsory test at the end of the rest day [Monday], in accordance with the protocol put in place by ASO [the organizer of the Tour de France] ”, has, moreover, informed the Cofidis team in a press release.

Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) had already had to give up participating in the Tour on Saturday. Just like the Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen, teammate of the yellow jersey, Tadej Pogacar. And, within the UAE team, the entourage of the double winner of the Tour de France does not hide the fact that he fears possible contamination much more than a waste of time on one of his rivals.

“I saw what happened at the Tour de Suisse. When the virus arrives in the peloton, it spreads quickly, ”observed Groupama-FDJ general manager Marc Madiot on Saturday. And to warn: “We live with a storm overhead that can blow up on us at any time. »