Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 June 2020

Coronavirus: Chris Froome screened, UAE Tour cancelled after two positive tests

Riders, staff and organisers quarantined at hotel on Yas Island

Cyclists on the cancelled UAE Tour have been confined to their Abu Dhabi hotel after two staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is among the riders being tested.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said the riders, administrative staff, and organisers will be quarantined pending health checks.

"It's a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first," Froome, making his comeback from injury at the race, said.

"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."

The final stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled early on Friday. Abu Dhabi Sports Council said two Italian 'participants' were confirmed to have Covid-19.

Several riders and teams confirmed they were confined to a hotel on Yas Island pending test results.

The situation could have implications for the world track championships in Berlin. Danish rider Michael Morkov was at the UAE Tour until Wednesday and was due to join the Danish team in the German capital on Thursday, ahead of Sunday's madison.

A spokesperson from the British Cycling team in Berlin said the team doctor was liaising with the UCI medical team.

The last two stages of the UAE Tour had been scheduled to be staged from Al Ruwais to Al Mirfa (158 km) on Saturday and Al Maryah Island to Abu Dhabi (127 km) on Sunday.

"The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the race's participants," the Council said in a statement, adding that "safety comes at the top of all priorities."

Several riders had earlier used social media to confirm they were being tested and that the event had been cancelled.

Several teams commented on the premature end of the UCI World Tour race, which started on Sunday.

"We have taken note of the cancellation of the UAE Tour due to the occurrence of the coronavirus," the Dutch Jumbo-Visma team said on their Twitter feed.

"We wish all the people involved the very best, awaiting further developments."

The Italian Vini Zabu-KTM team said on Twitter: "In the hotel the local authorities are testing all the riders and the staff members #Coronavirus."

Israel's Omer Goldstein, riding for the Israel Start-Up Nation team posted a video on Twitter.

"I go to sleep like every night and somebody knocked on my door in the middle of the night and said that the race is cancelled," he said.

"We were surprised so we asked why and they said two people in the race organisation, or from the riders, we don't know, had the sickness, the coronavirus."

The Israel Start-Up Nation team's Alex Dowsett tweeted, "Well, didn't see that one coming," while New Zealander James Mitri, riding the race for Italian ProTeam Vini Zabù-KTM, wrote: "Thanks, UAE Tour, for a great race and time. It's a shame the last days are cancelled but the riders and staff's health must come first."

*This story has been amended since publication

Updated: March 4, 2020 03:28 PM

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