Bora-Hansgrohe said it had been given the go-ahead to race Dwars door Vlaanderen with only Matt Walls and two first category contacts remaining in quarantine, while the rest of the riders and staff have been released after testing negative to COVID-19 several times.
Bora-Hansgrohe were stopped from riding the E3 Saxo Bank Classic last Friday and Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem after Britain’s Walls tested positive and the E3 Saxo Bank Classic COVID-19 doctor deemed that 16 riders and staff were classified as close contact cases therefore were ordered to quarantine. The team questioned the decision but under Belgian national COVID-19 rules, the riders faced a week in strict quarantine, with only training indoors on the rollers permitted.
"This has been a difficult situation not only for us, but also for several others who have been involved. We are aware that health, whether of individual athletes or in society at large, must always come first," said Bora-Hansgrohe team manager Ralph Denk in a statement. "Nevertheless, professionals should be able to practice their profession unless there is an understandable reason to prohibit it."
A series of negative tests and a change in stance of the COVID-19 race doctor at Dwars door Vlaanderen opened the door for Bora-Hansgrohe to return to racing.
“Matthew Walls and the two first category contacts of course remain in quarantine,” said Denk. “All other riders and staff have tested negative (PCR) several times since Saturday and were officially released from quarantine today."
Denk said he wanted to thank all the authorities involved.
“The effort that everyone has shown for the good of our sport cannot be taken for granted."
The Bora-Hansgrohe line up for Wednesday’s race is Pascal Ackermann, Nils Politt, Marcus Burghardt, Jordi Meeus, Daniel Oss, Maciej Bodnar and Patrick Gamper.
Peter Sagan will only travel to Belgium on Friday and join the team for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.
“Peter went home to Monaco after the Tour of Catalunya. He will complete his training there in the coming days," Bora-Hansgrohe told Belgian media.
"He doesn’t need to explore the Tour of Flanders route. Peter knows the roads in Flanders well enough. He will not come to Belgium until Friday.”
Trek-Segafredo has also been cleared to race on Wednesday having missed Gent-Wevelgem after at least two members of the team tested positive across Friday and Saturday.
However, former world champion Mads Pedersen and Alex Kirsch will not be part of Trek-Segafredo’s line-up. They were deemed to be a close contact with one of Trek-Segafredo’s COVID-19 cases and will have to stay in isolation until Saturday.
Edward Theuns' COVID-19 test was inconclusive and the team have decided to withdraw him from the roster and will start with only five riders.
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