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Half of Italian team out of cyclo-cross Worlds due to COVID-19

CHERBOURG FRANCE JANUARY 16 Silvia Persico of Italy and Team Valcar Travel Service competes during the 5th Flamanville UCI CycloCross Worldcup 2022 Mens Elite UCIcycling CXWorldCup on January 16 2022 in Cherbourg France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
Italian champion Silvia Persico is one of six riders heading to Worlds in Arkansas (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Half of the Italian team for the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas have been removed from the group travelling to the USA after one rider tested positive for COVID-19 following the World Cup in Hoogerheide on Sunday.

Six riders from Italy are on their way to Arkansas: elite women Eva Lechner and national champion Silvia Persico, U23's Lucia Bramati, Samuele Leone, Davide Toneatti and junior Federica Venturelli, along with coach Daniele Pontoni and three support staff in addition to several support staff who had already traveled to the US.

Six riders were forced to stay in Europe either as close contacts or positive for the virus: Jakob Dorigoni (elite men), Gaia Realini (U23 women), juniors Luca Paletti, Samuele Scappini, Tommaso Cafueri and Valentina Corvi. 

Dorigoni won his first title as an elite rider earlier in January. Realini was fifth overall in the elite women's national race and second in U23 category.

The Belgian team also suffered several withdrawals due to COVID-19 positives, including Quinten Hermans, one of the favourites for the elite men's race, who tested positive after Hoogerheide.

After Hermans' test result was found late on Sunday night, the Belgian federation,  who already lost junior Ferre Urkens to COVID-19, had another drop out after a positive on Sunday, junior Xaydee Van Sinaey.

The Italian federation withdrew six riders under an existing protocol and working together with the Dutch authorities and federation President Cordiano Dagnoni, Secretary General, Marcello Tolu, the team manager Roberto Amadio and the health manager, Roberto Corsetti.

"We have worked to resolve the situation in the manner permitted by Dutch, Italian and U.S. regulations," Amadio's comment said. 

"This morning the people who have not had contact with the presumed positive and those who had done the third dose of vaccine and were negative in the test carried out at a local medical facility, have left for the States."

The racing in Fayetteville begins on Friday with the Mixed Relay Race, with the other events during the weekend. Other riders are due to travel to the USA on Tuesday.

Cyclingnews will have full coverage of all the racing plus news, interviews and analysis. 

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.