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Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on the Giro d’Italia peloton with two full teams and one additional rider all leaving the race after a handful of positive tests.
In a joint announcement with the UCI, RCS revealed on Tuesday morning that two riders — one from Sunweb and one from Jumbo-Visma — had tested positive for the virus and had been “entrusted to the respective teams’ doctors who ordered their isolation measures”. Jumbo-Visma later confirmed that the affected rider was Steven Kruijswijk, the team’s GC leader and one of the pre-race favourites.
“[Kruijswijk] will not appear at the start of the tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia,” the team said via Twitter. “Kruijswijk tested positive on [sic] Covid-19 on the rest day. As a result, he has to leave the race.”
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) October 13, 2020
Jumbo-Visma later made the decision to withdraw its entire team from the race. Initial reports from the team stated that the Dutch team would continue the race after Kruijswijk tested positive but the team didn’t show up for sign-on and then issued a brief statement on Twitter around noon: “Team Jumbo-Visma won’t start in today’s tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia. More information will follow.”
Kruijswijk had a private hotel room and no other Jumbo-Visma rider or staff member has yet tested positive. Jos van Emden explained on The Cycling Podcast that earlier this Giro d’Italia several teams were in the same hotel, along with motorbike police, Shimano neutral service, and regular guests. They all shared the same hotel dinner buffet.
Sunweb, meanwhile, has confirmed that Michael Matthews was its rider who tested positive.
“After undergoing a PCR test at yesterday’s Giro d’Italia rest day, Team Sunweb’s Michael Matthews has tested positive for COVID-19,” the team said in a statement. “He is currently asymptomatic, feels healthy and after receiving the results early this morning, he is now in quarantine.
“All other riders and staff returned a negative test and at this stage, no other team member displays symptoms of COVID-19. The team will continue to closely monitor all within their bubble, operating with as much discipline as possible, doing the maximum it can.”
— Team Sunweb (@TeamSunweb) October 13, 2020
The joint UCI/RCS announcement also revealed that a total of six staff members had tested positive for coronavirus: four from Mitchelton-Scott and one each from Ag2r-La Mondiale and Ineos Grenadiers. Mitchelton-Scott announced a short time later that it had withdrawn its entire team from the race.
“Following two rounds of negative COVID-19 test results on Friday and Saturday, the team was notified of four positive results for staff members from testing conducted on Sunday evening,” the team announced via a press release. “Upon receiving the results, Mitchelton-Scott immediately withdrew its team from the race and will focus on the health of its riders and staff and their safe movement to areas of quarantine.”
General manager Brent Copeland said the team had withdrawn “as a social responsibility to our riders and staff, the peloton and the race organisation”. He explained that the affected individuals “remain asymptomatic” or have “mild symptoms.”
Mitchelton-Scott’s withdraw comes three days after its GC leader Simon Yates withdrew from the race after testing positive for COVID-19. At the time, all other riders and staff returned negative tests.
With the health of riders & staff our priority, we have withdrawn from the @giroditalia after results of the rest day COVID-19 testing, our 3rd round of testing in 3 days, revealed positive results for some of our staff.
Full details 👇https://t.co/PWd7q5kcdL
— GreenEDGE Cycling (@GreenEDGEteam) October 13, 2020
All riders and staff at the Giro were tested for coronavirus on Sunday and Monday. A total of 571 tests were conducted.