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French cycling teams' UAE coronavirus lockdown to end

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Paris (AFP)

Two French cycling teams shut up for 10 days in a hotel in the United Arab Emirates over coronavirus fears revealed on Sunday that their time in quarantine is coming to an end.

Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ had been in lockdown in the country after a number of COVID-19 cases led to the cancellation of the UAE Tour late last month.

"We're going home!" tweeted Groupama-FDJ rider Arnaud Demare, while general manager of Cofidis Cedric Vassuer thanked "all those who worked day and night to bring forward our return".

No exact date of their release was given by either team, but it will be earlier than the original scheduled date of March 14 previously offered by team officials.

Both teams had been quarantined when people who had tested positive for the virus were found to have been staying on the same floor at the hotel as the two teams.

The UAE Tour was abandoned after two Italian staff members with one of the teams tested positive for the disease.

On Tuesday the UAE announced six more related cases, saying that two Russians, two Italians, one German and a Colombian had been infected.

Also on Tuesday Cofidis sports director Roberto Damiani threatened to go on hunger strike if the quarantine wasn't ended soon.

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