UAE Tour abandoned after two Italian riders test for coronavirus

For Chris Froome the UAE Tour was his first race since last June."It's a shame" he tweeted when it was cancelled (AFP Photo/GIUSEPPE CACACE) (AFP)

Dubai (AFP) - The UAE Tour was abandoned Thursday after two Italian cyclists tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said, with teams and riders reported to be under lockdown in their hotels.

"The remaining stages of the UAE Tour are cancelled after two cyclists from Italy tested positive for the new coronavirus," said the Abu Dhabi Sports Council in a statement to the official WAM news agency.

Organisers said that all the participants in the race, that had been due to finish on Saturday, will be tested for the virus which has left Italy as the worst hit country in Europe.

Italy has seen 650 people infected and 17 deaths.

"It's a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first," tweeted British star Chris 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."