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(Reuters) - Italian world champion Filippo Ganna said those who doubt the severity of COVID-19 should "give it a try" after remaining positive for the virus two weeks after his original test.
Ganna, who blazed to gold in the time trial at this year's road world championships at Imola and won four stages of the Giro d'Italia, missed the European track championships.
He remains in quarantine with several members of his family who also tested positive and described having been unable to reduce a high temperature.
"We hope to test negative as soon as possible and that this disease doesn't leave any physical trauma," Ganna said in an interview with Tuttobiciweb https://www.tuttobiciweb.it/article/2020/11/19/1605784873/filippo-ganna-positivo-covid19-coronavirus-intervista-oscar-tuttobici-under-25.
"We cannot be sure, though. As soon as I get better, of course, I will undergo the necessary examinations before returning to training. For three days I had a fever of 39C, and the temperature didn't stop despite taking paracetamol three times a day. I had bone pains and all the classic flu symptoms, and for a week I had no sense of taste or smell."
Ganna, who will have a third test on Friday, passed on the virus to Italian track team mates Liam Bertazzo and Michele Scartezzini who also missed the European championships.
Italy is experiencing a surge in coronavirus infections, with 36,176 new cases and 653 deaths on Thursday, and Ganna warned his compatriots about breaking social-distancing rules.
"Those who deny the gravity of the virus that is upsetting the world, and who still insist on not respecting the rules that would help us defeat it, should try it for themselves," The Ineos Grenadiers rider said.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)