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Bahrain Victorious race Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France with just five riders due to Covid-19

Stevie Williams (Bahrain-Merida) leads the way on stage 1 of the 2019 Tour de Romandie
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Bahrain Victorious will head into Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France with a five-man team after a positive Covid-19 case was confirmed. According to the team the positive case had close contact with other staff members. Initially, the team were set to pull out of the race completely but on Friday evening the team confirmed that they would take part in the one-day race but with a reduced roster.

Teams comprise of seven riders for Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France but Eros Capecchi, Scott Davies, Kevin Inkelaar, Rafael Valls, and Stephen Williams will form the Bahrain Victorious squad. The team did not confirm which rider or staff had been affected.   

“We will go to the race without our leader and with five riders. It is not easy to make a race of this level with the reduced lineup, but we will strive for good racing. Our two main protagonists will be Capecchi and Williams. The course is tough. We don’t have a sprinter, but as said, we will try to do our best, giving freedom to those two riders,” said the team’s sports director Alberto Volpi.

Williams, 25, recently raced the Vuelta a Burgos, while Capecchi came through the Tour de Pologne earlier this month. Both riders are out of contract at the end of the season with Bahrain Victorious yet to announce if either or both riders will be retained for next season. 

Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France is a 251km race that starts and finishes in Plouay. A strong line-up is expected with world champion Julian Alaphilippe, Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar, Jai Hindley and David Gaudu all expected to start.

Like most WorldTour teams, Bahrain Victorious are currently running a double or triple race programme, with squads in action at the Vuelta a España and elsewhere in Europe.

Under the UCI's COVID-19 protocol, teams are not penalised if they are unable to compete due to cases in the team.