Two top contenders for the upcoming cyclocross World Championships in Fayetteville will unfortunately not be on the start line. Annemarie Worst and Denise Betsema both stayed home in the Netherlands. Worst tested positive for COVID-19 before travelling to the United States and although Betsema delivered a negative test, she did have a fever.
“We had and still have several irons in the fire with the elite women, but I did count Annemarie and Denise among the contenders for a medal. It’s a hard blow for us and them that they can’t be there,” said Dutch national team coach Gerben de Knergt.
“I didn’t see this coming. This is really sad, especially because I’ve been riding well lately,” said Worst.
The Belgian national team announced on Monday that Quinten Hermans and Xaydee van Sinaey would not travel to the USA after they tested positive for COVID-19 and Italy left half of their team at home after a rider tested positive following the final World Cup in Hoogerheide on Sunday.
European teams have expressed concerns around the COVID-19 precautions once they enter the USA. Travellers headed to the United States must have a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of flying but once they’ve landed the rules are lax. Staff and racers travelling to Fayetteville from within the USA are not required to take a COVID-19 test.
Face masks are required at the venue and the UCI has asked organizers to provide a buffer between accredited and non-accredited attendees.
“We will continue to test ourselves to be able to immediately remove a positive person from the group,” said De Knegt. “It remains a strange situation. I hear from people that hardly anyone wears a face mask there. So I’m quite concerned that someone there will contract an infection and then miss the race and not be allowed to fly home.”