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Cluster of COVID-19 cases hits Volta a Portugal

Euskaltel-Euskadi in last year's Vuelta a Burgos
Euskaltel-Euskadi in last year's Vuelta a Burgos (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The Volta a Portugal has lost two teams and several other individual riders after a cluster of COVID-19 positives this week.

The cases started over the weekend with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA registering two positives among its riders and staff in a batch of antigen tests taken on Friday. 

The team withdrew, stating: "The green formation renounces taking part in the remaining stages in order to preserve the health of the team and the rest of the squad. Likewise, all team members at Volta a Portugal will undergo PCR tests and all the measures indicated by the health authorities will be applied."

On Tuesday, Euskaltel-Euskadi registered two COVID-19 positives and will also depart the event.

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Euskaltel-Euskadi are among the teams due to start the Vuelta a España.

Because of the first cases, the other teams staying in the same hotel as Caja Rural - W52-FC Porto, Atum General/Tavira, and the Movistar Team - underwent additional testing before Saturday's stage, delaying the start of the race by 10 minutes.

The race organisers allowed the racing to continue, with the doctor responsible for sanitary measures, Ana Lúcia Pereira, saying, “Right now, we have conditions to continue the Tour with these teams.”

Two riders from the Atum General-Tavira-Maria Nova Hotel team - roommates Emanuel Duarte and David Livramento - as well as João Benta and Tiago Machado from Radio Popular Boavista, have also had to leave the race after positive tests.

Before Sunday's stage, Sergio Araiz and Ibon Ruiz of Equipo Kern Pharma withdrew due to positive tests.

Despite the pairs of COVID-19 positives, the three teams have so far opted to continue racing. Radio Popular Boavista's Daniel Freitas leads the Volta a Portugal by 42 seconds over Alejandro Marque of Atum General-Tavira. W52-FC Porto's Amaro Antunes is third at 47 seconds.

The Volta a Portugal is due to continue on Wednesday with the sixth of 10 stages.