'Most UAE Tour riders cleared' after coronavirus scare

Chris Froome (Getty Images)
Chris Froome (Getty Images)

Paris - Most of the riders and teams taking part in the abandoned UAE Tour, and who had been quarantined in their Abu Dhabi hotels since Thursday after a coronavirus scare, were cleared to leave the country on Saturday, sources said.

"The pleasure of going home after several days spent at the hotel," tweeted 2018 world champion Alejandro Valverde, one of the top stars of the race along with Chris Froome, the four-time winner of the Tour de France.

"We are doing well and soon we will fly to Spain."

However, there was confusion over how many competitors and officials will be allowed to leave.

All 133 cyclists who were still in contention as well as team members were tested after it was announced by organisers on Thursday that two Italian staff members on the race had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Earlier on Saturday, the UAE Tour, quoting health officials, said that 167 people had been tested and all were negative.

The Department of Health-Abu Dhabi were "still monitoring the condition of the remaining cases of contacts, whose lab testing findings will be available in the next few hours."

The UAE Tour cancelled its last two stages on Thursday after the coronavirus cases were confirmed.

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team, who took part in the first four stages, was placed in isolation in his hotel room after arriving in Berlin to take part in the world track championships.

However, on Saturday, he too was cleared to take part.

"The rider present in Berlin is currently in excellent health, with no suspicious clinical signs, and we are also guaranteed that he has not contacted the two members of the management of a team participating in the UAE Tour, originally suspected of coronavirus," governing body UCI said in a statement.

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