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Van Vleuten leaves altitude camp just as coronavirus restrictions close in

A delighted Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) celebrates winning the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Annemiek Van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) celebrates winning the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

World champion Annemiek van Vleuten left her altitude camp in Tenerife in the nick of time, narrowly avoiding the restrictions on travel due to the coronavirus pandemic to make it home to the Netherlands. 

The Dutchwoman is not the only professional who had to make a quick exit: Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) is finally en route to the UK from Lanzarote after scrambling to find a flight out.

Authorities in Spain have moved to prevent cyclists from riding on the roads to reduce preventable accidents over fears that the medical system is about to be overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases, while travel restrictions have led to hotels being shuttered and flights cancelled.

Van Vleuten wrote on Instagram that she just left Tenerife in time. "Had to go back home very quick to avoid to get stuck at Tenerife for weeks... Hotels are closed (this is my hotel also closed just some hours after I left) and not allowed to train on the road. 

"Happy that this is still possible in NL but we all need to take care. Felt extra strange to leave El Teide because I felt very safe with very low risks of getting infected at the vulcano (sic)... Now at home. Thoughts go every where and change day by day. From being worried about races that will be cancelled now worried if we can manage this outbreak all together."

Professional riders in Europe are struggling to remain focused on their jobs with races well into April and even May being postponed or cancelled. Van Vleuten said she will "sit down with my coach this week to set new goals and make a plan for next weeks", saying it's "hard to continue now to train without goals", but said, "This is only a small personal problem compared to what is happening with #CoronaVirus around us. Shout out to all the people that work so hard these days to manage this situation in best possible way!"

Dowsett, who has haemophelia, was worried that he would be stuck in Lanzarote without his medication but just managed to get out on Monday.

"Things have gone south here in Lanzarote quite quickly. An issue of getting out before the lockdown starts and I’m quite concerned about Chanel and I leaving before my haemophilia medication runs out. Airlines seem to be madness atm with cancellations and no flights available," he wrote on Twitter on Saturday before getting a flight confirmation on Sunday.