Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Coronavirus: Chris Froome and other riders and teams head home from UAE Tour

The final stages of the UAE Tour cycling race were cancelled early on Friday after two team members tested positive for coronavirus

Chris Froome and Team Ineos are among some of the participants to have been allowed to leave their hotels in Abu Dhabi and return home from the cancelled UAE Tour, although others remain in quarantine following a coronavirus scare.

The final stages of the UAE Tour cycling race were cancelled early on Friday after two team members tested positive for coronavirus.

Abu Dhabi Sports Council said two Italian participants were confirmed to have Covid-19. The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi (DoH) later said it had taken precautionary measures in two hotels on Yas Island, where cyclists and crew had been staying, to test anyone that may have come into contact with the patients.

Authorities issued a statement on Saturday to say the first 167 tests for the virus had come back negative after around 600 riders, staff members and media were checked for the virus over the past two days.

However, several teams confirmed early on Sunday they were beginning the journey home.

"All our riders and staff now leaving UAE after being given the all clear," Team Ineos said on Twitter. "Thank you to all those who have helped us and looked after the team over recent days."

Team Jumbo-Visma wrote on Twitter that their riders and staff were on the plane back home while Alex Dowsett's Israel-Start Up Nation squad posted pictures from the airport as they began their journey.

However, journalists who were being held in confinement in a separate hotel reported they had been told that they were to remain under lockdown.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention said all race participants, administrative staff and organisers will be screened and quarantined. Some people who may have come into contact with the infected patients have been house-quarantined and would under go periodic testing over the next two weeks, the DoH said.

The final two stages of this year's UAE Tour were Al Ruwais to Al Mirfa (158 km) on Saturday and Al Maryah Island to Abu Dhabi (127 km) on Sunday.

The UCI, cycling's governing body, has cleared Michael Morkov, a Danish cyclist who rides for Deceuninck-QuickStep, to compete at the Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin after he travelled to Germany from the UAE Tour prior to the lockdown being put in place.

Morkov, having already visited the velodrome on Thursday, was put into isolation at the team's hotel for 34 hours before being given the all-clear on Saturday, although the 34-year-old has not been tested for the virus.

Movistar's Albert Torres was the one other rider at the UAE Tour who planned to compete in Berlin.

The Spaniard did not leave before the lockdown was put in place, but posted a picture on Instagram late on Saturday saying he was now travelling to Germany and hoped to arrive in time to race.

Updated: March 1, 2020 02:18 PM

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