Alpecin-Deceuninck withdraw from Tour de Pologne due to five COVID-19 positives

LUBLIN, POLAND - JULY 30: David van der Poel of The Netherlands, Sjoerd Bax of Netherlands, Tobias Bayer of Austria, Senne Leysen of Belgium, Jakub Mareczko of Italy, Stefano Oldani of Italy, Fabio Van Den Bossche of Belgium and Team Alpecin-Deceuninck during the team presentation prior to the 79th Tour de Pologne 2022 - Stage 1 a 218,8km stage from Kielce to Lublin / #TdP22 / #WorldTour / on July 30, 2022 in Lublin, Poland. (Photo by Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)
Alpecin-Deceuninck at the team introduction to begin 2022 Tour of Poland on July 30 (Image credit: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

Alpecin-Deceuninck has withdrawn from the Tour de Pologne after five staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The team added that test results for riders were ‘all negative’

“We are sorry to announce our withdrawal from Tour de Pologne after 5 COVID cases within our team staff on site,” the team posted to social media just hours after the completion of stage 3 in Przemyśl.

“In the interest of the health of our riders, team staff, and all other teams participating, we have decided – in agreement with the UCI and the local organizing committee – to leave this year’s tour de Pologne.”

Twenty minutes after the announcement of withdrawal was made, Alpecin-Deceuninck confirmed on Twitter that it was staff, not riders, who had tested positive. 

“EXTRA - We received confirmation that all tests done today with the riders turned out to be ALL negative. So no positive cases with our riders.”

The team  had a seven-rider squad competing at the Tour de Pologne, with Stefano Oldani their best-placed rider in 18th overall after three stages, in a large pack of four riders just 20 seconds off the lead of Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe). 

Also competing were David van der Poel, Sjoerd Bax, Tobias Bayer, Senne Leysen, Jakub Mareczko and Fabio van den Bossche. Van der Poel and Bayer were involved in a crash in the opening kilometres of stage 3 but would finish the gargantuan 237.9km ride.

At this year's recently concluded Tour de France, 41 riders abandoned the race, 17 of them due to COVID-19. 

From the Alpecin squad, Michael Gogl withdrew from the Grand Tour due to injuries from a crash and Mathieu van der Poel withdrew due to lack of form.

The Tour de Pologne covers 1,200km over seven days and is a vital tune-up event for the Vuelta a España. 

Among the WorldTeams looking for top honours are Ineos Grenadiers with Richard Carapaz, Bahrain Victorious with Pello Bilbao and Bora-Hansgrohe with Higuita. 

After winning stage 3 on Monday, Higuita has a four-second lead in the GC over Bilbao, while Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) is another two seconds back in third. 

Carapaz is tied with nine other riders, including teammate Ethan Hayter, just 10 seconds off the pace.

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