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Fernando Gaviria out of UAE Tour after third COVID-19 positive

Tour de Pologne 2021 78th Edition 3rd stage Sanok Rzeszow 2264 km 11082021 Fernando Gaviria COL UAE Team Emirates photo Dario BelingheriBettiniPhoto2021
Fernando Gaviria has caught COVID-19 for a third time (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Fernando Gaviria will not ride the UAE Tour after testing positive for COVID-19 for a third time in two years. 

The Colombian sprinter won two stages at the recent Tour of Oman and was due to travel to the UAE for Sunday’s first stage but discovered he was positive in a pre-race protocol PCR test.

UAE Team Emirates said Gaviria will be replaced by fellow sprinter Pascal Ackermann. Team leader Tadej Pogačar will lead the team in their home race after recently recovering from COVID-19. 

Despite strict protocols to protect riders and staff, team plans and race rosters are being disrupted by the omicron variant of COVID-19. 

Gaviria spent almost a month in hospital in Abu Dhabi in March 2020 after contracting COVID-19 during the UAE Tour. He was only said to have suffered mild symptoms but was only discharged once he produced three negative tests. 

He caught COVID-19 for a second time during the 2020 Giro d’Italia, testing positive in the second round of rest-day testing at the late-season Corsa Rosa

It is unclear how and where he caught COVID-19 for a third time. He returned home to Monaco on Wednesday from the Tour of Oman. He will now have to isolate until testing negative and then undergo medical health checks as per the UCI's COVID-19 protocol before being able to race again.  

"As per the pre-race protocol, Gaviria underwent a PCR test which returned a positive result while at home in Monaco before departing to the UAE Tour," Dr. Adrian Rotunno, the Medical Director of UAE Team Emirates, said.

"He is feeling well and undergoing his mandatory isolation period and will aim to return to training following further tests."

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.