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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (CT) — The UAE Tour has been cancelled five days into the race after two team staff members at the race tested positive for coronavirus.
As of Thursday night, authorities are requiring teams, staff, and media at the race to remain in their hotels, with individual health checks currently being conducted on riders and team staff.
— CyclingTips (@cyclingtips) February 28, 2020
[Author’s note: The above was recorded on Friday morning in Abu Dhabi, not Saturday as stated]
In a statement, organizers said that “all the Race’s participants, administrative staff and organizers will be examined through the continuous periodic screening being conducted, and all needed procedures, including quarantine measures, will be taken to ensure viral suppression and curb the spread of its outbreak in coordination with all health and other authorities concerned in the country.”
According to the statement, two Italian staff members of a participating team returned the positive tests.
In the wake of that news, the race was officially called off in the early hours of Friday morning. The results after the fifth stage were declared the final results for the event, with Adam Yates atop the GC standings. Beyond that, further official information has been scarce.
Fears of the transmission of COVID-19 – better known as coronavirus – had already led to the cancellation of the Tour of Hainan and other events, and put question marks over many of the early season races in Italy, which is currently a coronavirus hotspot. The virus has already had a number of impacts on the cycling calendar and industry, as CyclingTips wrote in this feature earlier this week.
We have taken note of the cancellation of the UAE Tour due to the occurence of the coronavirus. We wish all the people involved the very best, awaiting further developments.
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) February 27, 2020
It’s a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first. 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
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) February 27, 2020