British rider Simon Yates pulls out of Giro d'Italia after testing positive for Covid-19
Simon Yates puts on a mask and waits for the start of the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia - AP
British rider Simon Yates was withdrawn from the Giro d'Italia ahead of the eighth stage on Saturday after testing positive for Covid-19.
Yates' team, Mitchelton-Scott, announced that the 28-year-old had been screened for "very mild symptoms" on Friday after stage seven. Both this first test and a follow-up test gave positive results.
After Geraint Thomas fell in the neutral zone on the third stage, in which Ineos Grenadiers' rider had a broken pelvis, Great Britain lost its two best competitors and the Giro lost its two pre-race favorites within seven days.
Both men started with high hopes in Sicily last Saturday.
Thomas, who finished second in Tirreno-Adriatico last month, was happy to agree with the bookies, saying he was confident he would be "there or close" when he crosses the finish line in Milan.
And the Welshman duly got off a Flyer and finished fourth in the opening time trial to steal a march against his rivals in the standings.
Yates also showed a better performance against the clock last Saturday than many expected.
However, the British rider's performance on stage three, losing more than three minutes to fellow GC competitors after being dropped early on the last ascent of Mount Etna, indicated something was not quite right. It remains unclear whether Yates' performance on Mount Etna that day is related to his Covid positive.
It also remains to be seen whether Yates infected anyone inside or outside of Mitchelton-Scott's bladder.
A team statement said: "The 28-year-old was isolated in his single room during the trial and will be safely transported in an organized ambulance for a period of quarantine so that the team can provide the best possible care. His symptoms remain very mild. ""
They added that all other team riders and staff have since tested negative and continue to be monitored.
Team doctor Matteo Beltemacchi said on the team's website, greenedgecycling.com: "Simon showed a very mild temperature on Friday night during our routine temperature checks, which were carried out three times a day during the Giro d'Italia.
"He was isolated in his room under the team's Racesafe Covid-19 policy and we immediately requested a quick test with the RCS service offering, which came out positive.
"Simon's health remains our primary concern and luckily his symptoms remain very mild and he is otherwise in good health. We would like to thank the RCS for their assistance in organizing the rapid tests and transporting them.
"All other drivers and employees have had negative results and have been cleared to continue the race. As a precautionary measure, however, we will be closely monitoring the situation and carrying out further tests in the coming days."
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