COVID-19 hits Grand Tour veterans Erviti and Caruso

NMES FRANCE JULY 08 Imanol Erviti of Spain and Movistar Team 2nd place Harry Sweeny of Australia and Team Lotto Soudal 3rd place at arrival during the 108th Tour de France 2021 Stage 12 a 1594km stage from SaintPaulTroisChateaux to Nimes LeTour TDF2021 on July 08 2021 in Nmes France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

COVID-19 continued to spark retirements at the Tour de France, with the Movistar team announcing that their road captain Imanol Erviti tested positive for the virus, while Damiano Caruso also headed home after struggling in the Pyrenees, with Bahrain Victorious revealing he was also positive for COVID-19.

Imanol Erviti has returned a positive covid test, will not start @LeTour s18. Get well soon mate!” the Movistar team tweeted on Thursday morning. 

Adding: “Our captain is in good health. See you soon!” 

Erviti is the first Movistar rider to catch COVID-19 during the 2022 Tour de France. It is only the second time in his long career as a domestique and road captain that he has failed to finish a Grand Tour. He has started 28 Grand Tours and only failed to finish the 2012 Tour de France. 

Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) left the Tour de France due to a COVID-19 on Wednesday before stage 17 and Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Mikaël Chére of AG2R Citroën and Max Walscheid of Cofidis did not start on Tuesday after rest day positives. 

14 riders have now been forced out of the 2022 Tour de France due to COVID-19. 176 riders started the Tour de France in Copenhagen but only 141 riders are now left in the race.

Caruso was suffering with flu-like symptoms according to an article in La Gazzetta dello Sport and Bahrain Victorious subsequently confirmed he was positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms.

"All other riders and staff returned negative tests," the team said.

The Sicilian was in the attack on stage 16 to Foix, went clear alone but was soon distanced. He finished tenth in the 2020 Tour de France and second in the 2021 Giro d’Italia but had slipped to 22nd overall in this year’s Tour de France. 

It is the first time he has abandoned a Grand Tour after completing 15 three-week races. 

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