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Bahrain Victorious skip Bretagne Classic WorldTour race after COVID-19 case

Bahrain Victorious will sport a new jersey for the 2021 Vuelta a Espana
Bahrain Victorious will skip the Bretagne Classic (Image credit: Photo Gomez Sport)

The Bahrain Victorious team have pulled out of this Sunday’s Bretagne Classic WorldTour race in north-west France after a COVID-19 case emerged in the team.

A number of staff members were considered close contacts and the team withdrew from the race in agreement with the race organiser.

“Following the team’s medical protocols, the decision was made following a positive Covid-19 result," the team said in a statement. 

"While the positive case could be substituted, close contact with other staff makes creating a safe ‘race bubble’ difficult."

Bahrain Victorious did not reveal which member of their team tested positive, nor the close contacts involved.

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.

COVID-19 cases are increasing across Europe but few restrictions remain in place after large parts of the population were vaccinated.

A number of teams have been struck by COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic but the UCI’s Medical Protocol has limited the impact of the virus on the sport, with much of the calendar going ahead in 2021.

Riders and teams are protected in a so-called ‘Race Bubble’ and undergo obligatory COVID-19 tests before travelling to races and on rest days of Grand Tours. Teams have also created their own COVID-19 protocols, with staff wearing masks, food served in private rooms, and team vehicles carefully sanitised.

Several riders tested positive during races in the rescheduled 2020 season but there have been fewer cases this season. Some riders and staff have been vaccinated but others are yet to do so.

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