Rally Cycling withdraw from Tour of Turkey after COVID-19 case
US ProTeam quits race despite other riders and staff testing negative
The Rally Cycling team have withdrawn from the Tour of Turkey after a team member tested positive for COVID-19 overnight.
Rally Cycling told Cyclingnews that all the rest of the group tested negative in follow-up tests on Friday morning but the US-registered ProTeam decided to withdraw from the race.
The team did not identify the person involved. It is unclear if any of the team will be declared close contacts and so be obliged to stay in Turkey for a period of isolation.
"We had a positive test with one of our team members overnight here at the Tour of Turkey,” Rally Cycling director Pat McCarty said.
"Follow-up tests with the rest of our group were all negative this morning. We made the decision to withdrawal ourselves from competition out of respect for the rest of the teams and staff working the race."
Rally Cycling took their first win of 2021 on stage 1 of the Tour of Turkey, with Dutchman Arvid de Kleijn beating the likes of Mark Cavendish, Jasper Philipsen and André Greipel. De Kleijn went on to take two fourth places in other sprint stages.
A number of riders and teams have withdrawn from races due to COVID-19 cases so far this season.
Swiss rider Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) was unable to start the Tour of Turkey on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19 in pre-race testing. He was negative in a test on Thursday and is expected to travel home to Switzerland today.
Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) did not start Brabantse Pijl Dames on Wednesday April 14 and will miss Amstel Gold Race Ladies Edition on Sunday April 18 after testing positive for COVID-19.
Trek-Segafredo withdrew from Gent-Wevelgem after positive COVID-19 tests, while Bora-Hansgrohe were unable to ride the E3 Saxo Bank Classic as a result of a positive COVID-19 pre-race test by rider Matthew Walls, and also missed Gent-Wevelgem.
Under the strict UCI medical protocol created to limit the impact of the COVID-19 virus and ensure racing can be held, riders and teams have to form protective bubbles and undergo regular and pre-race testing. Contact with fans, the media and anyone outside of the bubble is strictly controlled.
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Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.