Ineos Grenadiers' Tour de France leader Adam Yates has tested positive for COVID-19 and has pulled out of the Tour de Suisse.
In a statement, the team indicated that the British rider was suffering mild symptoms and returned a positive lateral flow test on Thursday morning.
Yates did not start stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse, his final preparation race ahead of the Tour de France. He was sitting 10th overall after four stages, in the main batch of pre-race favourites 10 seconds down on the overall lead.
News of Yates' COVID-19 case closely follows an outbreak at the Jumbo-Visma squad at the Tour de Suisse. Race director Olivier Senn revealed that the team had four positive cases in their squad and so pulled their whole team and staff from the race on Thursday morning.
Later in the morning Team DSM also revealed that Cees Bol, Casper Pedersen and Søren Kragh Andersen had all tested positive for COVID-19. A number of other riders also quit the race due to illness and fatigue.
Yates had been set to lead the line for Ineos Grenadiers alongside Daniel Martínez at the Tour de France, but the COVID-19 case throws his ambitions into jeopardy.
The Tour de France begins in Copenhagen on Friday July 1, in just over two weeks. Yates will therefore have time to get the virus out of his system but it is unknown how severely it will impact his health in the meantime.
Even if he continues to only suffer mild symptoms, he will be required to undertake a period of rest. He also faces medical checks and a cardiac test, as recommended by the UCI in the wake of COVID-19 infection, to detect any subsequent effects of the virus.
After a strong debut season with Ineos Grenadiers in 2021, Yates earned himself a leadership role for the 2022 Tour de France after Egan Bernal suffered a career-threatening crash earlier in the year.
He is set to lead the British super team alongside Colombian Daniel Martinez, with 2018 winner Geraint Thomas likely to ride in a support role as Filippo Ganna targets the opening time trial and Tom Pidcock makes his Tour debut.
Yates finished runner-up behind two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar at the UAE Tour at the start of the season, before placing fourth at Paris-Nice.
He pulled out of the final stage of the Tour of the Basque Country - won by Martínez - in early April, and the Tour de Suisse marked his return to racing after more than two months out.
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.