Arnaud Démare has been compelled to make an extra delay to the beginning of his season after he contracted COVID-19 forward of the Volta ao Algarve.
The Frenchman had initially been scheduled to make his 2023 debut on the Tour of Antalya final week, however the race was cancelled within the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
Démare was subsequently pencilled in to trip the Volta ao Algarve, however he was not included within the line-up introduced by Groupama-FDJ on Monday. L’Équipe reported on Tuesday afternoon that Démare had not totally recovered from a COVID-19 an infection he contracted final week.
It’s anticipated that Démare will now begin his season at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on February 26 earlier than lining out at Paris-Good and Milan-San Remo. Démare was the final rider to win La Primavera in a bunch dash when he beat Ben Swift to the road in 2016.
Winner of three levels and the factors jerseys ultimately 12 months’s Giro d’Italia, Démare completed 2022 on a excessive observe with victory at Paris-Excursions. Though Groupama-FDJ disbursed with key parts of his lead-out practice in the course of the low season, the 31-year-old has signalled his need to clock up his a hundredth profession victory – his operating tally is 91 – and return to the Tour de France in 2023.
Final month, Groupama-FDJ’s Tour GC chief David Gaudu issued an apology to Démare after feedback he made in regards to the sprinter on the Discord platform had been leaked on social media. “Me, I do not need him to come back to the Tour,” Gaudu had written within the chatroom on January 20, including: “Good Netflix or not, I do not care.”
Groupama-FDJ have despatched the core of their Classics squad to the Volta ao Algarve, the place Stefan Küng leads the road. The Swiss rider is joined within the workforce by Valentin Madouas, Jake Stewart, Lewis Askey, Miles Scotson, Olivier Le Gac and Paul Penhoët.