First stage leader Mathieu van der Poel and Alpecin-Fenix are out of the UAE Tour, after withdrawing shortly before the start of the second stage due to a positive coronavirus case within the team.

The Dutch rider had set the early running by winning his first ever bunch sprint at WorldTour level on the opening day.

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The Belgium-based team have not revealed who returned a confirmed Covid-19 result, but said they were pulling out to protect “the wellbeing of everyone involved”.

A statement read that the decision was taken to “safeguard the race bubble and ensure the safe continuation of the race”.

The unnamed member of staff has gone into isolation, as has all of their close contacts.

The event is taking place under strict conditions, with all teams involved flying in on charter flights and staying in a bubble, while also taking regular rapid PCR tests.

A race statement said: “Alpecin-Fenix, in agreement with the UAE Tour organiser, have decided to withdraw its team from the race, in order to safeguard the race bubble and ensure the safe continuation of the race.”

“The team was notified of one positive result of a member of its staff from the round of tests conducted on Sunday evening, 21st of February.

Upon receiving the results, the person immediately went into isolation, and all those who came into contact with this person are self-isolating, in compliance with the protocol measures put in place by the race organisers and UAE Health Authorities.

“All team members will undertake further tests in the coming days, while they remain in isolation.”

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