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Wednesday May 29, 2024

Cyclists await test results after coronavirus hits UAE Tour

By AFP
February 29, 2020

ABU DHABI: Cyclists including Britain´s Chris Froome awaited the results of coronavirus tests from their hotel lockdown Friday, after UAE Tour was abandoned when two Italian staff members tested positive.

"The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the race´s participants," the UAE Tour organising committee said in a statement. It said the United Arab Emirates health ministry would screen all the race´s participants, administrative staff and organisers, and adopt measures "including quarantine" to prevent the spread of the disease. "It´s a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first," tweeted Froome, a four-time winner of the Tour de France. "We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren´t any further cases #coronavirus."

A total of 24 Italian cyclists started the race in the UAE. Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe, with 650 people infected and 17 deaths. Italy´s Vini Zabu-KTM team said its riders had been tested already. "Tomorrow morning we will know the results. It´s gonna be a long night and we hope that everyone will come back home without any trouble," it said in a statement on Twitter.

Britain´s Adam Yates, who had led the overall race after Thursday´s fifth stage, was declared winner of the event after the final two stages fell victim to the coronavirus outbreak. Second was Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia with Kazak Alexey Lutsenko third. "The final two days of racing are cancelled due to concerns around Coronavirus," Yates´s Mitchelton team tweeted on Thursday. "Riders and staff remain in the hotel and will be tested shortly, with their health taking priority. We hope anyone affected makes a fast recovery." The tour cancellation came just a day after Italian golfers Edoardo Molinari and Lorenzo Gagli were quarantined in neighbouring Oman over coronavirus fears before being cleared to play in the country´s European Tour event.