Liège-Bastogne-Liège a test for Brandon McNulty after COVID-19 disease
Liège-Bastogne-Liège a test for Brandon McNulty after COVID-19 disease

Liège-Bastogne-Liège a test for Brandon McNulty after COVID-19 disease

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Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) says his running form is still a bit of a mystery after he captured COVID-19 late last month.

The American was called up at the last minute to race Liège-Bastogne-Liège to replace defending champion Tadej Pogačar after he had to return home to an emergency in the family earlier this week.

McNulty has not run since Paris-Nice in early March after he was forced to skip Itzulia Basque Country earlier this month after testing positive for coronavirus. He was due to return to racing at the Tour de Romandie next week, but had to throw a travel bag together to Belgium after the late call.

Also read: Tadej Pogačar misses Liège-Bastogne-Liège following a family emergency Brandon McNulty replaces him

“I was called up the other day in the middle of my trip, so I was a little stressed about getting home and getting packed. It’s good to be here and back to drive a little earlier than expected, ”said McNulty at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège team presentation on Saturday.

“It’s a kind of test for me to get rid of COVID, so it’s a bit unknown. The training is a bit hit some days, but it will be a good test to get your legs moving before Romandie. It will be nice to see how it goes . ”

Despite missing the defending champions of Pogačar, the team still has hopes that it can challenge the victory with people like Marc Hirshi – the de facto team leader with the Slovenian away – Marc Soler and Diego Ulissi.

It remains to be seen what McNulty can do as this is only his second Liège-Bastogne-Liège and he was unable to finish the race last year.

“We wish the best for Tadej, but the guys here are still in good spirits and we are ready to drive and do everything we can,” McNulty said. “I think we will see to Marc. He rides well and we have to see how it goes. If I can get to the final then I hope to come up with something. We have to see how it goes. It’s a long day. ”

Liège-Bastogne-Liège was to be the last race in Pogačar’s spring campaign after running a short period on the cobblestones, finishing fourth at the Tour of Flanders and then in the Ardennes. However, he flew home to Slovenia on Friday to support his fiancée Urška Žigart after her mother’s death.

“It is a very difficult moment for him. For us, of course, the human side is very important. We have a good team, we are here to try to win the race, but at the same time Tadej has to take some time and dedicate his energy. in a different situation, ”said the team’s CEO Mauro Gianetti.

“This was the last goal of his spring, but the season is long and at the moment it is not the most important thing for us. We take care of our rider and it is not a discussion.”

Without Pogačar, the UAE Team Emirates will no longer have the big favorite to win the race and it will likely change the color of the race.

“We’re here with Marc Hirschi, McNulty, Soler and with Ulissi, and we have a good team to try to win the race,” said Gianetti. “Of course it changes a bit that the other riders can now use their opportunity. They are in good shape and good condition and there is a good opportunity to take the race. We start with the same focus to try to win the race. ”

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