Mitchelton-Scott and Team Jumbo-Visma withdrew from the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday after confirming positive Covid-19 results from rest-day testing. Team Sunweb rider Michael Matthews also tested positive but his team are expected to start the stage in Lanciano.
All team members – both riders and staff – were tested over the course of the 11th and 12th of October. Of the 571 tests performed, two riders – one each from Team Jumbo-Visma (Kruijswijk) and Team Sunweb (Matthews) – tested positive, while six staff members, four from Mitchelton-Scott and one each from Ineos Grenadiers and Team Ag2r-La Mondiale returned positive tests, a statement on the Giro website said.
"Mitchelton-Scott, in agreement with RCS Sport, has withdrawn its team from the current Giro d’Italia following the results of the first rest day RT-PCR tests," Mitchelton-Scott said, just days after team leader Simon Yates had to withdraw ahead of Stage 8.
Following two rounds of negative Covid-19 test results on Friday and Saturday, the team was notified of four positive results for staff members from testing conducted on Sunday evening.
“Upon receiving the results, Mitchelton-Scott immediately withdrew its team from the race and will focus on the health of its riders and staff and their safe movement to areas of quarantine.”
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Initially Jumbo–Visma would confirm in a statement that their leader Kruijswijk was the rider who had tested positive, but would later add that their team as a whole would withdraw.
“Steven Kruijswijk will not appear at the start of the tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia. The Dutch leader of Team Jumbo-Visma tested positive for Covid-19 on the rest day. As a result, he has to leave the race,” read their statement.
Kruijswijk has no complaints or symptoms and he was very motivated to win this Giro d’Italia. He received the news of his positive test this morning. The other riders and staff members of Team Jumbo-Visma tested negative twice and may continue the Giro d’Italia.
The withdrawal from the race of Matthews - who is asymptomatic and feels healthy, according to his team - could have ramifications further down the line for GC contender Wilco Kelderman, currently second, some 30 seconds in arrears of race leader Joao Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick Step).
The staff member who tested positive at Team Ineos was asymptomatic, reported Orla Chennaoui, and has isolated. All other staff had tested negative in both the rest day tests and then also following further tests.
Riders in the Giro stay in a biosecure bubble when not on the road, just as they did for the Tour de France, which finished on Sept. 20. No riders tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19 while on the French tour.
On the Tour de France, two positive tests in a team within one week would have triggered the ejection of the outfit from the race but no such rule was put in place for the Italian Grand Tour, which started in Sicily on Oct. 3.
Italy, which hosted the rescheduled world championships last month, has seen a recent rise in coronavirus cases, with a post-lockdown record 5,456 people infected registered last Saturday.
Elite racing resumed in August after a four-and-a-half month hiatus, but the resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe has forced local authorities and organisers to cancel races, such as the Netherlands’ Amstel Gold Race, which had been scheduled for Saturday, and Paris-Roubaix, the “Monument” classic that was due to be raced on October 25.
With additional reporting from Reuters