With the ongoing pandemic, sports teams are advised to take strict measures to ensure their team’s health. With that being said, Jumbo-Visma has decided to reinstate the Dutch rider Lennard Hofstede. Previously, Lennard was not allowed to take part in competitions and the team’s camps because he refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Athletes that have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to participate in professional competitions to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. The last time Lennard actually rode with Jumbo-Visma was in October 2021, this was after competing in the Vuelta an España. As the omicron variant of the coronavirus was raging on, Lennard was not even invited to the camp in Alicante and Girona, because he was not vaccinated.
Jumbo-Visma Team Manager, Merijn Zeeman, shed some light on the situation:
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 in the period 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.
UCI has eased down its protocols in 2022, now a vaccination is NOT required to partake in competitions but a negative PCR test and immunization are still required. Riders need to have a negative PCR test approximately 48 hours before any race event. The PCR tests are required for a one-day race or even stage races that are less than 7 days.
With these strict countermeasures being taken, the omicron variant has still overwhelmed many teams and athletes. Jumbo-Visma and Team DSM were forced to pull out from Volta a la Comunitat after many of their riders tested positive for COVID-19.
Hofstede will be joining Jumbo-Visma soon enough, and his tour starts with Classic Brugge-De Panne on March 23. The reason why Hofstede will be joining the team sooner than anticipated has been explained in a statement:
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.
Hofstede is a skilled and professional rider, him getting reinstated into the team means well for both him and the team. Let’s see how his professional tour goes, stay tuned for more updates!
Featured Image Via YouTube/Olympia’s Tour