Mitchelton-Scott has withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia after the first rest day COVID-19 testing revealed four team staff had tested positive for the virus. The squad has pulled out of the race in agreement with organizers RCS Sport.
The news comes just days after the team’s GC leader Simon Yates left the race having tested positive.
“Unfortunately we received the news on Monday evening that we have returned a number of positive COVID-19 results to members of our staff after our third round of tests in three days,” said team manager Brent Copeland on Tuesday morning.
“As a social responsibility to our riders and staff, the peloton and the race organization we have made the clear decision to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia.”
Mitchelton-Scott staff reported to VeloNews on Sunday that they were confident in the health and prospects for their team after the exit of Yates.
Dutch GC contender Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) has also tested positive for coronavirus and will be exiting the race. The rest of his team and staff have returned two negative results and are clear to remain if they chose to do so. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) has also been confirmed as positive and is asymptomatic.
“Within the team, we take a lot of measures to avoid contamination,” Kruijswijk said Tuesday morning. “And I just feel fit. I can’t believe I got it. It is a very big disappointment to get this news. It is a pity that I have to leave the Giro this way.”
One staffer from Ag2r-La Mondiale and one from Ineos Grenadiers have also returned positive tests. They will also be placed in quarantine.
Insiders on the race have been warning of concerns around COVID-19 at this year’s Giro, reporting of busy hotels and inadequate social distancing.
“We wish the RCS and the rest of the peloton a successful finish to this year’s edition of the Giro d’Italia and we look forward to returning in 2021,” said Mitchelton-Scott boss Copeland.
As the race heads toward the high mountains of week three and is now stalked by both the risk of adverse weather conditions and heightening tensions over health and safety, the whole peloton will be hoping the race reaches Milan.