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In a message on his LinkedIn profile, the Dutch team owner said he was hospitalized for two weeks after coming down with COVID-19.
“More than six weeks ago I was hospitalized with corona,” Plugge wrote. “I had an incredibly tough fortnight, with high fever and anxious moments. Thanks to the good care of the medical workers, I came through. I’m still recovering, even though I left home almost five weeks ago.”
Plugge is the latest member of the pro racing community to be stricken by the world pandemic. A handful of riders and staffers during the UAE Tour in late February were hospitalized, including Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria.
Plugge cautioned about the dangers of the coronavirus, and urged the public to continue to follow mitigation measures such as social distancing.
“What I saw and experienced in the hospital was shocking; the pressure, the unknown, [and] difficult circumstances,” he wrote. “Big respect to all medical workers. Please, for yourself, society, and your beloved ones: keep self-control, live up to the measures for as long as necessary.”
With cycling considering a return to racing, including the Tour de France possibly to start in late August, Plugge said he would support resuming competition with Jumbo-Visma, but only under strict conditions.
“We are really looking forward to racing again as soon as possible,” he wrote. “However, this should be done in a safe way, with consent from the governments, preserving the health and safety of riders, teams, and organizers as priority number one. With a good plan, scenarios, testing, quarantine, etcetera, it might be possible. I hope so. If we can race that would mean the coronavirus situation is either under control or gone. That would be good news for all of us. In the meantime I can tell you, I’ve been there. It is a very nasty and severe disease. So use your head: stay safe, stay at home as much as you can. Take care of yourselves.”