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Sam Bennett the latest to leave Vuelta a España with COVID-19

COLLU FANCUAYA SPAIN AUGUST 27 LR Sam Bennett of Ireland and Team Bora Hansgrohe Green Points Jersey and Remco Evenepoel of Belgium and Team QuickStep Alpha Vinyl Red Leader Jersey compete during the 77th Tour of Spain 2022 Stage 8 a 1534km stage from Pola de Laviana to Collu Fancuaya 1084m LaVuelta22 WorldTour on August 27 2022 in Collu Fancuaya Spain Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images
Green jersey contender Sam Bennett has left the Vuelta ahead of stage 10 (Image credit: Justin SetterfieldGetty Images)

Sam Bennett is the latest rider to withdraw from the Vuelta a España due to COVID-19, with the Irishman a late scratch from the start list for the stage 10 time trial.

His Bora-Hansgrohe teammate and lead-out man Ryan Mullen confirmed that Bennett had tested positive for COVID-19 in an interview on Tuesday.

"It's shame for Sam and the team and myself," Mullen said. "Sam is a great guy and he's come back to his best form and unfortunately Covid has caught up to him probably along with another 10 or 20 guys in the race – I don't know how many. Clearly someone somewhere brought it in and now it's going around all the teams.

"It's a massive shame and Sam is going to be disappointed. He deserves to be here, he's put the work in, and he showed that he's back to his best.

"I'm pretty sure he would have won the green jersey. Probably now Mads Pedersen is going to walk all the way to Madrid with one finger in his nose with the green jersey. It is what it is but it's a shame though."

Bora-Hansgrohe later confirmed the positive test, stating: "Sam Bennett returned a positive antigen test this morning, and also showed some symptoms. Therefore we decided that he wouldn’t start today's stage."

Lying in 147th overall, Bennett was due to set off as the 11th rider down the start ramp for the 30.9km time trial from Elche to Alicante. However, as the early riders were starting their efforts, it emerged that Bennett had become the latest rider to DNS.

Bennett had won stages 2 and 3 in the Netherlands and was well in the running for the green points jersey, lying just five points off classification leader Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) having held the jersey until stage 8.

He is the eighth rider to withdraw from the race between the end of Sunday's ninth stage and the start of the time trial, and the 12th man to leave the race following a positive COVID-19 test.

Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), José Herrada (Cofidis), Harry Sweeny, Jarrad Drizners (Lotto Soudal), and Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) have all left the race following positive COVID-19 tests, while Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) and Floris De Tier (Alpecin-Deceuninck) are out with illness and saddle sores respectively.

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