World time trial champion Filippo Ganna has celebrated testing negative for COVID-19 after spending 21 days in quarantine.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider tested positive a few days after winning the final stage of the Giro d'Italia. He travelled to the Montichiari velodrome to train with his Italian teammates as final preparation for the European Track Championships but came down with symptoms of the virus and was quickly isolated and sent home.
A test on November 5 confirmed he had the virus, and two Italian teammates and his sister and parents were also confirmed as positive soon after.
Ganna spent his quarantine at home near Verbania in northern Italy but was unable to leave home. Last week, a test showed he was still positive for the virus but a further test on Tuesday finally gave him the green light to end his quarantine and he celebrated via social media.
"I felt like a Ferrari stuck in the Milan traffic at 8 in the morning," Ganna wrote on Twitter on his frustrations at being stuck at home. He showed off his negative result on Instagram.
"Magically this negative test has projected me to the Monza motor racing circuit! I’m finally #COVIDfree."
As per UCI medical protocols, Ganna will have to undergo a full medical before being able to start training for the 2021 season.
The Italian, who won four stages at last month's Giro d'Italia, apologised to his Italy track teammates Liam Bertazzo and Michele Scartezzini, after the pair were also forced to miss the European championships having later tested positive for COVID-19.
"I'm infinitely sorry to have infected my teammates and friends Bertazzo and Scartezzini, who deserved top results at the Euros after having prepared in a very meticulous way," he told Tuttobiciweb.
"I got a lot of attention all year long and I did everything right. Then I relaxed for a day and a half [after coming out of the Ineos Grenadiers bubble]. Because of COVID-19 I've thrown away many opportunities, but now I have to accept what has happened."
As well as four Giro stage wins, which included a solo victory in Camigliatello Silano, Ganna established himself as the world's top time trialist, becoming Italian and world champion. Back in February, he won another world pursuit title, smashing his own world record.
"In every sense [it was good]," he said. "As far as work is concerned, I can't complain about anything. For the rest, as for everyone else, it has been a difficult year. Those who deny the gravity of the virus that is upsetting the world, and who still insist on not respecting the rules that would help us defeat it, should try it for themselves.
"What I won in this atypical season makes me proud but now I just want me and my loved ones to be healthy again. Sport is important but in life, there are other priorities."
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