Lotto Soudal's Steff Cras returned a positive COVID-19 test before the final stage of the Volta a Catalunya on Sunday after suffering with a fever in the morning. In a day of contrasts for the Belgian team Thomas de Gendt went on to win the stage in Barcelona.
The seven day Spanish race has faced a number of withdrawals due to COVID-19 cases, with Alpecin-Fenix not starting after three staff members tested positive to COVID-19 while Spanish outfit Equipo Kern Pharma left en masse after two of the team tested positive following stage 4. There have been a number of other COVID-19 cases in team racing in Belgium, with Lotto Soudal's Harry Sweeny infected in the run-up to Bruges-De Panne.
“Cras as well as his close contacts were immediately isolated. In Barcelona Cras and his close contacts underwent a PCR test. Cras returned, later in the day, a positive corona result, the others a negative result,” Lotto Soudal said in a statement.
The team's Sylvain Moniquet also quit the race on stage seven but the remaining four riders rode onto the finish in Montjuïc. There De Gendt delivered the team its second stage victory of the race, the first coming on the opening stage from Andreas Kron who left the race on stage 4.
“Prior to the race the other five riders and all staff returned a negative result as well after a rapid test,” said Lotto Soudal.
“Steff Cras and his close contacts remain in Spain in quarantine. Cras feels already well again and does not show any symptoms. Team Lotto Soudal will continue to follow up all riders and staff, following the existing covid-19 protocols, and carry out more covid tests in the coming period.”
There were also a number of non-starters at Sunday's Gent-Wevelgem due to COVID-19 cases, with the Trek-Segafredo men’s squad withdrawing after positive COVID-19 tests before the race, while Bora-Hansgrohe were prevented from starting by the race organisation in line with coronavirus restrictions in place in Belgium.
The German squad have said they will also miss Dwars Door Vlaanderen after a seven-day quarantine on two-thirds of the team had been imposed by the race doctor of Friday’s E3 Saxo Bank Classic, which the squad missed after Matt Walls tested positive for COVID-19.
The race calendar is also at risk due to local COVID-19 cases, with uncertainty continuing to overhang Paris-Roubaix, due to be run on Sunday April 11.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.