Cycling: Yates's positive coronavirus test casts shadow on Giro d'Italia
GIOVINAZZO, Italy (Reuters) - The Giro d'Italia was in turmoil when Briton Simon Yates was eliminated on Saturday after testing positive for the new coronavirus a week into the three-week race.
Yates, one of the pre-race favorites, returned two positive tests after Stage 7 on Friday after showing "a very mild" fever during a routine check-up, his Mitchelton-Scott team said.
The rest of the team was then tested and all members were negative. The RCS organizers allowed the Australian team to continue the race, Mitchelton-Scott said.
"Yates developed very mild symptoms in the hours after yesterday's seventh stage. The Mitchelton-Scott medical team immediately requested a rapid test that showed a positive result. A second RT-PCR test was later performed to confirm the positive result . "said the team in a statement.
"The 28-year-old was isolated in his single room during the trial and will be safely transported by organized ambulance for a period of quarantine where the team can provide the best possible care. His symptoms remain very mild.
"With the health of employees and drivers a top priority, the remaining Mitchelton-Scott drivers and employees have also undergone rapid tests, each with negative results. They have been approved by the RCS to continue racing and are being used as a precaution subjected to further tests in the coming days. "
Yates, who won the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in the run-up to the Giro, finished 21st, 3:52 in total behind Portuguese championship leaders Joao Almeida, after losing more than three minutes in the first mountain stage.
Riders on the Giro remain in a biosecure bubble when not on the move, just like on the Tour de France, which ended on September 20th. No riders tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 during the French tour.
On the tour, two positive tests on a team within a week would result in the outfit being excluded from the race, but no such rule was introduced on the grand Italian tour, which started from Sicily on October 3rd.
Coronavirus cases have recently risen in Italy, where the rescheduled world championships were held earlier this month. 5,372 infected people were registered on Friday.
After a four and a half month hiatus, elite racing resumed in August, but the recent COVID-19 resurgence in Europe has forced local authorities and organizers to cancel races such as the planned Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands for Saturday and Paris-Roubaix, the "Monument" classic to be driven on October 25th.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot in Paris; editing by William Mallard)
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