Schachmann and Aleotti out of Mallorca Challenge after positive COVID-19 tests

LEVENS FRANCE MARCH 14 Podium Maximilian Schachmann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe Yellow Leader Jersey Celebration during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 8 a 927km stage from Le PlanduVar to Levens 518m Lion Mascot Mask COVID safety measures Stage itinerary redesigned due to COVID19 lockdown imposed in the city of Nice ParisNice on March 14 2021 in Levens France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Max Schachmann of Team Bora-Hansgrohe has won the last two editions of Paris-Nice (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Bora-Hansgrohe will be without Max Schachmann and Giovanni Aleotti for this week's season-opening races at the Mallorca Challenge after the pair tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Both riders tested positive in routine rapid tests at the weekend, the team confirmed, and both tests have since been confirmed with PCR tests.

The withdrawal of the two riders marks the first COVID-19 enforced withdrawals of the 2022 road season, almost two years after the pandemic first hit Europe.

Schachmann and Aleotti were due to take part in several days of the Mallorca Challenge, which is made up of five one-day races on the island of Mallorca in the Canary Islands.

AG2R-Citroën announced earlier on Monday that Benoît Cosnefroy has also tested positive for COVID-19 and so will not compete in the Challenge Mallorca.

Schachmann is set to race Paris-Nice in early March as he bids to make it three titles in a row. It's not yet known which races he or Aleotti will now start to begin their seasons however they face time off the bike in isolation and detailed medical checks before returning to full training.

The pair's positive tests aren't the first time COVID-19 has affected riders this year. Jumbo-Visma ended their training camp early after a team member tested positive, while Peter Sagan and his brother Juraj have also tested positive prior to camp with Team TotalEnergies, and both the AG2R Citroën and Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise squad were also hit by outbreaks during their training camps. Other teams have reportedly been hit by cases. 

Last week, a new law was passed in France which would require any athletes wishing to compete in the country to be vaccinated – a move which would prevent unvaccinated riders from taking part in early-season races such as the Tour de la Provence, Etoile de Bessèges and Paris-Nice, and potentially French races later in the season.

The UCI has also updated its COVID-19 rules for 2022, reintroducing 'non-pharmaceutical' measures that were introduced in 2020, including wearing masks, sanitising facilities, and taking PCR tests. Depending on the country in which a race is held, the stricter of the UCI's rules or local laws will apply.

A 'health pass' is also set to be introduced, which can be earned within a week to four weeks after a full vaccination of any shot authorised in Europe, a week after a PCR-confirmed infection, and it can also be earned with proof of a negative PCR test within 48 hours of a race which has to be repeated every 10 days.

The governing body stated in December that 97 per cent of members of Women's WorldTour teams were vaccinated, compared to 86 per cent of those on men's ProTeams and 79 per cent of men's WorldTour team members.

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