Olympic gold medalist withdraws from Tour de France due to COVID-19 infection


Danish rider Michael Morkov withdrew from the Tour de France on Thursday, just before the start of the 12th stage due to COVID-19, his team announced. 

The 39-year-old cyclist returned a positive test result on Wednesday night and the following morning, his team, Astana, said in a statement. 

“Despite the rider feeling good and doesn’t [sic] have essential symptoms, the medical staff of Astana took a decision to stop the rider, first of all, to protect his health from long-term effects the virus could provoke in the future.” the statement read.

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Danish cyclist Michael Morkov pictured in action during stage 10 of the 2024 Tour de France cycling race. (POOL LUCA BETTINI/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

The withdrawal is a tough blow for Morkov, who is competing in his final Tour de France before he is expected to retire at the end of the year.

The Tour de France does not have COVID-19 protocols. British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart and American Sepp Kuss also missed the race after contracting the virus before it began. 

The Tour de France began in Florence, Italy on July 9th and will conclude in Nice, France, on July 24th. 

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Morkov 2

Denmark’s Michael Morkov has withdrawn from the Tour de France ahead of the race’s 12th stage because of a COVID-19 infection. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole, File)

This year marks the first time in Tour de France history that the race will not finish in Paris due to the upcoming Olympics.

Despite his withdrawal, Morkov is due to compete in his final Olympic Games later this month.

Morkov, a three-time Olympian, took home a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in a team event, and won gold in the Madison track event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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Tour de France

 A general view of the peloton competing during the 111th Tour de France 2024. (Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

He officially turned pro in 2009 and won the Denmark National Championships in 2013, 2018 and 2019 in the road race. In 2013, Morkov won the Spanish Vuelta. 

Stage 12 of the Tour de France took place on Wednesday with Biniam Girmay winning the stage, his third stage win.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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