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Bizkaia-Durango pull last rider out of Giro d'Italia Donne due to COVID-19 positive

Bizkaia Durango racing the opening team time trial at the Giro d'Italia Donne
Bizkaia-Durango racing the opening team time trial at the 2021 Giro d'Italia Donne (Image credit: Getty Images)

Bizkaia-Durango announced that they have pulled their last rider as well as staff out of the Giro d'Italia Donne due to a positive COVID-19 test within the team ahead of stage 7 on Thursday.

"In the last hours a positive case of COVID-19 has been detected within the Bizkaia-Durango team that has been present in the Giro d'Italia Donne," the team confirmed in a statement on Thursday.

"As a precautionary measure, it has been decided to withdraw the team from the Giro, no longer taking part in today's stage."

Lucía González, who was the last rider on the team still in the Giro d'Italia Donne heading into of the seventh stage, did not start the 109km race from Soprazocco di Gavardo to Puegnago del Garda.

Bizkaia-Durango started the 10-day race with a team of six riders that included Sandra Alonso Dominguez, Elizabeth Holden, Emilie Fortin, Ariana Gilabert VilaplanaIurani Blanco Calbet and González.

It has been a tough race for the Spanish-based Continental outfit after they finished 24th and 38:28 behind Trek-Segafredo in the opening team time trial. They continued to race with determination through stage 2 to the summit finish at Prato Nevoso won by Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) and stage 3 into Ovada won by Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma).

However, the team lost four riders to the time cut in the stage 4 individual time trial - Holden, Alonso, Blanco Calbet and Gilabert.

All four riders finished outside of the time limit set by organisers at 30 per cent of the winner's time. Van der Breggen won the 11.2km time trial in 24:58, and so anyone who finished slower by 7:49 or more were time cut from the race and could not start stage 5. Race organisers stuck to the 30-per-cent rule and therefore 12 riders were time cut following the stage.

The remaining two team members, Fortin and González, continued to race making it through stage 5, won by Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM). However, Fortin did not finish stage 6 won by Emma Norsgaard (Movistar).

González was the last rider in the race but was then forced to pull out ahead of stage 7 due to a COVID-19 positive test with in the team.

It's been a tough season for Bizkaia-Durango that were forced to also pull out of home race, Navarra Classics, in May after a positive COVID-19 test within the team. It was the second year in a row the team could not start their home race. 

Last year, the team did not start Nafarroako Emakumeen Klasikoa because they had not received the results of the PCR tests performed on their riders and staff in time for the start of the event.

Kirsten Frattini

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.