Alpecin-Fenix pull team out of UAE Tour after Covid case

Al Hudayriyat (Emirats arabes unis) (AFP) –


The Alpecin-Fenix cycling team withdrew from the UAE Tour on Monday after a staff member tested positive following the opening stage of the seven-day race.

Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel won Sunday's first stage for Alpecin-Felix in a sprint finish as cycling's first major race of the season got under way in the Gulf state.

"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 said in a statement.

"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," the statement added.

A 13km individual time trial around Al Hudayriyat Island awaited riders on Monday's second stage.

The race was cut short last year by a Covid-19 outbreak among the teams, making it one of the first international sports events to feel the effects of the pandemic.

Stringent measures are in place this year to prevent a recurrence, with staff and riders staying in separate hotels.