Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) is the latest rider to leave the Tour de France due to COVID-19, testing positive on Friday morning ahead of stage 13.
The Frenchman, who won the polka-dot jersey in 2017, came close to winning stage 11 from the breakaway on Wednesday, only to fade as the yellow jersey battle ignited on the upper slopes of the Col du Granon.
Barguil finished 10th on that stage but was a more lowly 103rd on another Alpine outing on stage 12, finishing nearly half an hour down on the winner at l'Alpe d'Huez.
He returned a positive test for COVID-19 on Friday morning and was pulled from the race by his team, whose other seven riders remain in the race.
"Warren Barguil is a non-starter this morning on stage 13 of the Tour de France due to a positive test for COVID-19. Our other seven riders all tested negative," read a statement from the team. "Thanks for everything, Wawa."
Arkéa-Samsic continue in the Tour de France chasing the general classification through Nairo Quintana, who came to the fore with second place on Col du Granon but slipped back to sixth overall on l'Alpe d'Huez.
Barguil is the sixth rider to abandon the Tour de France due to COVID-19, following Luke Durbridge (BikeExchange-Jayco), Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), and the UAE Team Emirates duo of George Bennett and Vegard Stake Laengen. Numerous others tested positive in the days leading up to the Tour and had to be replaced by reserve riders.
There has been a greater number of cases among team staff, with QuickStep-AlphaVinyl losing several members towards the start of the Tour, and directors and even Netflix crew members taken out from other squads. On Thursday, Tadej Pogačar's UAE Team Emirates manager Joxean Matxin tested positive and left the race.
All cases so far have been identified through internal testing. The official, UCI-mandated testing round carried out by race organisers ASO on Monday's rest day yielded no positive tests. The next round of official testing comes on the next and final rest day this coming Monday, although those tests could again be carried out on Sunday evening in the wake of stage 15.
Two riders have tested positive and remained in the race, with Bob Jungels (AG2R Ctiroën) and Rafal Majka (UAE Team Emirates) both deemed to have low enough viral loads to be considered non-infectious.
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Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist, and former deputy editor of Cyclingnews, who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.