Defending champion Mads Pedersen and the rest of his Trek-Segafredo team have been forced to sit out Gent-Wevelgem due to a positive test within the team. The American squad is the second team removed from the start list after Bora-Hansgrohe could not participate in E3 Saxo Bank Classic earlier in the week.
In a statement, Trek-Segafredo said, “One team member tested positive for Coronavirus on Friday 26th. They were then put into isolation along with the other team members who had been in close contact with them. The entire team underwent an extra PCR test which revealed a positive result for one of the isolated members.”
Both Jasper Stuyven, winner of Milano-San Remo, and Edward Theuns took to Twitter to voice their frustration.
Absolutely gutted to not taking the start tomorrow! Turn the page and hope for the best for the upcoming races ! https://t.co/7WVFPcj8Ro— Jasper Stuyven (@Jasperstuyven) March 27, 2021
The question remains what will happen next for the team. Bora-Hansgrohe has been forced to isolate in their hotel since their pre-E3 Saxo Bank Classic positive and were not allowed to start Gent-Wevelgem.
“I am very disappointed and angry. A GP from the region can block an entire team in one of the largest one-day races in the world. We had a positive Corona case with Walls and have the roommate and a physio as category 1 contact persons. That they have to be isolated and quarantined is absolutely clear. However, we of course have other riders and staff on-site, so a part of them were also ordered to be in quarantine, but only some of them,” said the team’s manager Ralph Denk. “Honestly, I can’t understand why other teams are allowed to race after similar cases. We tried everything last night, but the doctor didn’t even answer us anymore. It would be nice to at least understand how he has justified his decisions. We are testing every day at the moment and all the tests so far have been negative, without exception. The part of the team that has been quarantined will be quarantined until 1 April. This also means that we cannot start at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.”
The CEO of Flanders Classics Tomas van den Spiegel responded, “as much as we would have loved to have a complete field, we do not have the authority to overrule an ongoing quarantine. It is also not up to an organizer like ourselves to judge whether the quarantine is fair or not.”
Luckily, the Trek-Segafredo women’s team have remained separate from the men’s and are allowed to participate in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
This story is ongoing.