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Arndt, Donovan, Delaplace out of Vuelta a España with COVID-19

Milano - Torino 2022 - 103th Edition - Magenta - Rivoli 199 km - 16/03/2022 - Nikias Arndt (GER - Team DSM) - photo Luca Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) is out of the Vuelta a España (Image credit: Luca Bettini/SprintCyclingAgency)

Team DSM have announced that two of their riders have tested positive for COVID-19 and are out of the Vuelta a España ahead of Saturday's mountainous eighth stage.

Nikias Arndt and Mark Donovan have both left the race following positive tests. The pair were roommates in Spain and both men are suffering minimal symptoms.

Later on Saturday morning, Arkéa-Samsic announced that Anthony Delaplace had also tested positive and would be leaving the race.

"Unfortunately, roommates Mark Donovan and Nikias Arndt have returned positive COVID tests so will not start La Vuelta 22 today," Team DSM announced. "Both have minimal to no symptoms and are doing well. We send our best wishes to Mark and Nikias."

The withdrawals mean that DSM leader Thymen Arensman is down to five support riders for the remaining stages of the race, including Saturday's summit finish at Colláu Fancuaya. He currently lies 16th overall, 2:14 down on race leader Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl).

Arkéa-Samsic, meanwhile, were already down to seven men from the start in Utrecht following team leader Nairo Quintana's late withdrawal in order to fight his tramadol positive at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The Vuelta will resume on Saturday afternoon with 171 starters. The first COVID-19 case at the race came ahead of stage 5 as Daan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo) left after testing positive.

Since then, Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) has also left the race, while AG2R Citroën lost Andrea Vendrame and Jaakko Hänninen to positive tests on Friday.

Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech), Steff Cras (Lotto Soudal), Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), and Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) are the four other riders to have abandoned the race so far.

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