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Kern Pharma quit Volta a Catalunya after double positive for COVID-19

CALELLA SPAIN MARCH 22 Start Podium Roman Mart Mrquez of Spain Jaime Castrillo Zapater of Spain Kiko Galvn Fernndez of Spain Urko Berrade Fernandez of Spain Savva Novikov of Russia Daniel Alejandro Mendez Norea of Colombia Roger Adri Oliveras of Spain and Team Equipo Kern Pharma during the 100th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2021 Stage 1 a 1784km stage from Calella to Calella Mask Covid safety measures Team Presentation VoltaCatalunya100 on March 22 2021 in Calella Spain Photo by David RamosGetty Images
Equipo Kern Pharma at the team presentation prior to stage 1 of 2021 Volta a Catalunya (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Spanish outfit Equipo Kern Pharma have quit the Volta a Catalunya en masse after two of their team members tested positive for COVID-19 following stage 4.

The UCI Pro squad, which was making its debut in the WorldTour at the Volta a Catalunya, said it was suspending its racing program for a week and would be placing all those who had been in contact with the two positive cases in voluntary quarantine.

Before stage 5, Urko Berrade of Spain had been Kern Pharma’s best placed rider, positioned in 36th place overall, and the team had been a constant presence in the early breaks during the race’s first four stages.

“It’s a tough decision, but the most responsible one to take,” Team Manager Juanjo Oroz said in a press release.

“We prefer to be cautious and look after everyone’s health, which is always the top priority.

“I would like to thank all the riders, staff and sponsors at Kern Pharma for the major efforts they have made to respect the health and safety measures. Fortunately, we’re all in good health and we hope we’ll be back racing soon.”

Another ProTeam due to take part in the Volta a Catalunya, Alpecin-Fenix, did not start the race after three staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The Belgian team did not travel to Spain. In February, Alpecin-Fenix also withdrew from the UAE Tour ahead of stage 2 after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.