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A staff member of Team Alpecin-Fenix tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, February 21.
As a result, the entire team withdrew from the UAE Tour.
Team rider Mathieu van der Poel had won the first stage of the race.
“Upon receiving the results, the person immediately went into isolation, and all those who came into contact with this person are self-isolating, in compliance with the protocol measures put in place by the race organisers and UAE Health Authorities,” Alpecin-Fenix said in a statement. “All team members will undertake further tests in the coming days, while they remain in isolation.”
This is disappointing news for team member Mathieu van der Poel, who won Stage 1 of the race, and just three weeks after winning the cyclocross world championship title for the fourth time.
Stage 2 of the UAE Tour, an individual time trial, went off without a hitch on Monday, February 22 (though Trek-Segafredo rider Antonio Tiberi ended his ride with a sudden crash right before the finish line). Time trial specialist Filippo Ganna of Ineos Grenadiers took the win on the 13K course with a spectacular average speed of 34.78mph.
One year ago—at the beginning of the pandemic—the final two stages of the UAE Tour were canceled after two staff members on different teams tested positive. Several teams were then forced into a lockdown, and the entire Tour of Hainan was canceled, marking the beginning of the pandemic’s impact on pro cycling.
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