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Dashed hopes for Garcia sidelined from Itzulia Women with COVID-19

Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ) at the finish of Emakumeen Nafarroako
Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ) at the finish of Emakumeen Nafarroako (Image credit: UAE Team ADQ / Sprint Cycling Agency)

UAE Team ADQ have pulled out of the top-tier stage race Itzulia Women held from May 13-15 and Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria on May 17 due positive to COVID-19 cases within the team. 

"After some positive results of Covid-19 tests carried out by its riders, as a precautionary measure and to protect the health of the other teams as well, UAE Team ADQ has decided not to participate in the coming days at the Itzulia Women (2.WWT) over the weekend and the Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria (1.1) next Tuesday in Spain," UAE Team ADQ announced Thursday.

Spanish National Champion Mavi García, a favourite for the races held in the Basque Country, confirmed that she was one of the riders who tested positive for COVID-19 and expressed her disappointment as she heads home. She will now sit out the races until further notice.

"Yesterday was one of those days when the legs work perfectly and then everything goes wrong," Garcia wrote in a post on Instagram on Wednesday, referencing her race at Emakumeen Nafarroako the previous day. 

"With the number 21 that they say gives luck and perhaps for not believing in it ...... Fall in the sprint and today positive of covid. I'm going home."

Garcia has had a series of strong results this spring with ninth overall at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, sixth at Amstel Gold Race, fifth at Flèche Wallonne, and second overall at Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Ruta Del Sol. This week she was third at Gran Premio Ciudad de Eibar and fifth at Emmakumeen Nafarroako Women.

UAE Team ADQ were positioned for strong performances in both events. The team registered for the top-tier stage race also included Linda Zanetti, Alessia Patuelli, Eugenia Bujak, Mariia Novolodskaia and Anna Trevisi.

The inaugural Itzulia Women marks the first stage race of the season on the Women's WorldTour, making it one of the most important stage races on the calendar. 

"Not an easy decision, but made with a sense of responsibility by the management of the Emirati team," the team wrote. "In the coming days the development of the situation will be evaluated and the date of return to competitions defined. We will keep you informed."

Garcia has made the Tour de France Femmes in July a main target of the 2022 season, both for herself and UAE Team ADQ. The team will likely turn their attention to the next stage races on the Women's WorldTour in preparation for their targets in July.

“My objectives are always going up,” she told Cyclingnews in February. “My career is always getting better. But my principal objective this year is the Tour de France. It’s very important to the team, it’s very important to me, it’s important for everyone.”

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and 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 men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.