Two test positive for coronavirus as UAE Tour cancelled

Adam Yates

Britain’s Adam Yates was edged out in a sprint finish by Tadej Pogacar and Alexey Lutsenko in stage five but retained his overall lead

The UAE Tour has been cancelled with two stages remaining after two Italian “staff members” tested positive for coronavirus.

Riders at the event, including Britain’s Chris Froome and Adam Yates, are now being tested for the virus.

“Safety comes at the top of all priorities,” race organisers Abu Dhabi Sports Council said.

Organisers had initially said that the two people taken ill were “participants” in the race.

“Two Italian staff members of one of the teams participating in the UAE Tour have tested positive for the coronavirus,” the UAE Tour later said on Twitter.

“The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the race’s participants.”

Yates led after the fifth stage before teams and riders announced late on Thursday the race had been cancelled.

“It’s a shame that the UAE Tour has been cancelled but public health must come first,” Froome tweeted.

“We’re awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice.”

More than 80,000 people in nearly 50 countries have been infected by coronavirus.

Nearly 2,800 have died, with the majority of the deaths in China.

Italy and Iran have become major centres of infection, with people travelling from those countries spreading the virus further afield.

The UAE’s ministry of health and prevention said all riders, administrative staff and organisers will be examined through “continuous periodic screening” and quarantine measures will be taken to “curb the spread of its outbreak”.

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome was back racing for the first time since breaking his leg at the Criterium du Dauphine in June last year.

“I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren’t any further cases,” he added.

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