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Froome and Cavendish being tested for coronavirus following UAE Tour cancellation

Joe Robinson
28 Feb 2020

Two staff members of UAE-Team Emirates tested positive for the virus yesterday evening

The UAE Tour has been cancelled after two Italian team members tested positive for the coronavirus with riders, including Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish, now being checked by health officials in quarantine.

Reports last night spread on social media that the Middle Eastern stage race had been cancelled with immediate effect due to two staff members from the UAE-Team Emirates team being tested for the virus.

Later that evening, race organiser RCS and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council then confirmed the two cases of the virus and the cancellation of the race with immediate effect. They also confirmed that all riders and staff would be kept in their hotels and tested.

'The Abu Dhabi Sports Council has cancelled the remaining rounds of the 2020 UAE Tour after two Italian participants had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19,' the statement read.

'The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the race’s participants. Safety comes at the top of all priorities,' said the council.

'In the meantime, the Ministry of Health and Prevention said that all the race’s participants, administrative staff and organisers will be examined through the continuous periodic screening being conducted, and all needed procedures, including quarantine measures, will be taken to ensure viral suppression and curb the spread of its outbreak in coordination with all health and other authorities concerned in the country.

'The ministry added that all the necessary precautions to ensure highly efficient preventive measures are being taken, including check-ups and observation of people in contact with patients, to guarantee protection of the society and its safety and preserve public trust.'

Currently, all riders and staff are being tested as well as journalists covering the race.

Plenty of teams and riders have confirmed that they have already been tested while Froome confirmed via Twitter last night that he was awaiting testing.

'It’s a shame that the UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first,' said Froome. 'We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren’t any further cases #coronavirus.'

This is the latest race to have been affected by the ongoing health crisis that has spread around the world. Already canned were the Tour of Hainan and women's Tour of Chongming Island.

Additionally, it is looking highly likely that some of the upcoming races in Italy will be affected too.

Currently, parts of Italy are on lockdown after a surge in cases at the weekend with all sporting events either being cancelled, postponed or played behind closed doors, including Italy's trip to Ireland in the Six Nations rugby on Saturday 7th March.

As yet no official action has been taken, but Strade Bianche is due to take place on the same day in Tuscany and while it is not in the direct area of lockdown, it is hard to envisage the race taking place.