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Israel Start-Up Nation pull rider from Vuelta a Burgos over coronavirus scare

Itamar Einhorn moves to the ICA pro team next year
Itamar Einhorn has moved up to WorldTour level for 2020 with Israel Start-Up Nation (Image credit: Noa Arnon)

Israel Start-Up Nation will start the Vuelta a Burgos one man down after Itamar Einhorn was linked as a primary contact to Omer Goldstein, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. Goldstein, due to resume racing next week, was asymptomatic and has since been quarantined.

Einhorn was the only rider to be in direct contact with Goldstein before arriving in Burgos, and the team are awaiting his test results but withdrew him as a precautionary measure.

"Although the additional test results have not been returned yet, the team doctors have decided to remove Einhorn from the team squad in Burgos as a precautionary measure and continue to monitor the situation," Israel Start-Up Nation said in a statement.

"Team ISN operates under the full supervision of its team doctors, following strict internal protocols, the UCI guidelines and UCI protocols and will take every precautionary measure to make sure the health of its members as well as the public is safeguarded."

The team also sent staff and riders who may have been in "close vicinity in recent days" with Goldstein to have new COVID-19 tests done, including some who had already arrived at the team hotel in Burgos, but the team said Einhorn was the only one to have had direct contact with him.

"Team ISN have incorporated strict guidelines and protocols for the current pandemic and respects the guidelines of local authorities and the UCI for returning to racing," the team stated. "We consider it our professional and personal duty to protect the health of all around us.

"The riders' and staff's health situation is monitored continuously by the team and includes a series of COVID-19 tests conducted in recent weeks before the return to competition. Most returned negative so far."

COVID-19 has an incubation period of between five and seven days after exposure to an infected individual. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a nasal swab PCR test will come back as a false negative 100 per cent of the time if a person is tested on the same day as being in contact with someone with COVID-19. The false positive rate drops to 40 per cent after four days, and 20 per cent of the time if tested three days after having symptoms. It is very rare for someone to test positive and not be infected with COVID-19.

The Vuelta a Burgos is due to start on Tuesday with a 157km stage from Catedral de Burgos to Mirador del Castillo with 153 riders on the start line.