Tao Geoghegan Hart and Giulio Ciccone, key riders in the Lidl-Trek team, have been set back by COVID-19 and flu respectively. Both riders were in their final training weeks before the Tour de France, raising concerns about their performance.

Giulio Ciccone has faced a challenging year. After missing the Giro d’Italia due to a serious saddle sore that required surgery, he had high hopes for the 2024 Tour de France. Ciccone, who won the polka-dot mountains jersey at the 2023 Tour de France, was targeting stage victories this year. Despite showing good form at the Critérium du Dauphiné, he fell ill upon his return home.

“It was not a return home as I hoped,” Ciccone shared on social media. “The flu got me and I haven’t trained since Friday. I hope to get better soon and recover in time for the Italian national championships.”

Tao Geoghegan Hart previously won the Giro d’Italia with Ineos Grenadiers
Credit: Getty Images

Geoghegan Hart’s challenges

Tao Geoghegan Hart, who joined Lidl-Trek for 2024, is also facing difficulties. After recovering from a femur fracture at the 2023 Giro d’Italia, he aimed to test his Grand Tour ability at the Tour de France. However, his plans were disrupted when he was involved in a mass crash on stage 5 of the Dauphiné, leading him to abandon the race before stage 7.

Returning to Andorra, Geoghegan Hart looked forward to simple pleasures like cooking for himself. Unfortunately, he tested positive for COVID-19 and shared on social media that he was “super sick”.

“I always say I miss buying fresh groceries and cooking. Even the simple decision of actually choosing what to have for lunch and dinner. This week has seen plenty of time for that, with zero bike riding and five days of Covid positive,” he wrote, posting photographs of his meals. “I thought those days were long gone but unfortunately I’ve been super sick. Take care everyone. And make sure you eat all the colours of the rainbow.”

Lidl-Trek’s Tour de France preparation

Lidl-Trek has yet to finalise its squad and objectives for the Tour de France. Riders are expected to travel for the Grand Depart next Tuesday. The 2024 Tour de France begins on Saturday, 29th June with a hilly stage from Florence to Rimini.