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Two COVID-19 positives for USA Cycling ahead of MTB Worlds

Hannah Finchamp (USA Cycling)
Hannah Finchamp (USA Cycling) (Image credit: Rob Jones)

USA Cycling announced on Monday that two members of its delegation for this week's UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Leogang, Austria have tested positive for COVID-19.

Hannah Finchamp (Orange Seal) did not start the Nove Mesto World Cup last weekend after testing positive before the cross country event. She then traveled to Prague for a second test which confirmed the presence of COVID-19. "Despite the positive test, Hannah is feeling well and has only experienced minimal symptoms," the announcement stated.

"I am devastated to find myself here, in this position. On Saturday, I tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. It still feels shocking and heartbreaking to say those words," Finchamp said in a press release.

Her trade team said Finchamp tested negative on three consecutive PCR tests before the positive tests and that she had been going beyond the required measures to prevent infection.

"Since the Pandemic started in March, I have exercised an abundance of caution. I have self-quarantined at home, worn masks at all times in public, minimized trips to the grocery store to every 2 weeks to limit exposure, and in fact, Clayton and I recently postponed our wedding an entire year out of an abundance of caution. Prior to flying to Europe, I completed three negative PCR COVID-19 tests in staggered intervals to ensure that I would not be bringing anything with me. Once I arrived in Europe I also tested negative for the virus."

According to USA Cycling, Pieter Wheymeyer, a soigneur for the Bear Development Team, also tested positive for COVID-19 and returned home to Kutzbuhel, Austria on Sunday.

Both are in quarantine and USA Cycling is cooperating with the Austrian Health Organisation to trace any close contacts with Finchamp and Wheymeyer.

USA Cycling had its entire team tested before leaving Nove Mesto and all of the test results came back negative, but riders and staff will be re-tested before arriving at the World Championships, which begin on Wednesday, October 7 with the Cross Country Team Relay and men's and women's E-bike championships.

The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships are part of an extremely abbreviated 2020 calendar after the coronavirus pandemic cancelled all but two World Cups - both held in Nove Mesto over the course of the past week. Finchamp placed 46th in the elite women's cross country in the first round.

Unlike the UCI Road World Championships, which included only the elite events, the UCI is holding a full schedule of events at the Mountain Bike World Championships, with men's and women's Junior Cross Country races on Thursday, U23 men on Friday, and U23 women and elite men and women's races on Saturday. Junior and elite Downhill races take place on Sunday.