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Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a España: COVID-19 abandons hit 25 as Lotto Soudal sends home fourth rider

Lotto Soudal has seen half its team go home due to COVID-19 positives.

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Though the news cycle has been focused elsewhere in recent days, COVID-19 is still picking its way through the Vuelta a España peloton with Lotto Soudal confirming the 25th abandon due to the virus.

The 23-year-old grand tour debutant Filippo Conca is the latest rider to pull out of the race, two days after his teammate Maxim Van Gils go home for the same reason.

Lotto Soudal has been one of the hardest hit by the virus with half of its eight-man team departing the race following a COVID-19 positive. The team lost Harry Sweeny and Jarrad Drizners from the race due to coronavirus at the start of the second week.

“It is sad to see another rider abandon because of covid. We are taking all the necessary precautions: riders and staff are wearing facemasks, even within our own bubble, we are social distancing and all riders have their own separate room,” Lotto Soudal doctor Stéphane Horman said. “It is difficult to work like this, but the safety of our riders is the most important during a grand tour.”

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The number of coronavirus positives reached a peak at the start of the second week with six riders pulling out ahead of stage 10 due to the virus, and five the following day.

Among the biggest names to abandon after catching COVID are Sam Bennett, Simon Yates, and Pavel Sivakov. UAE Team Emirates rider Juan Ayuso tested positive for the virus during the second week, though he was allowed to continue the race as it was deemed that his viral load was low enough as to have a minimal risk of re-infection.

COVID cases in the peloton have slowed in the last few days, though it is still an ever-present risk for the riders and race leader Remco Evenepoel said that getting the virus and leaving the race early was one of his biggest fears.

Covid positives and exits at Vuelta a España:

    1. Daan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo) DNS stage 5
    2. Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) DNS stage 6
    3. Jaakko Hanninen (Ag2r-Citroën) DNS stage 7
    4. Andrea Vendrame (both Ag2r-Citroën) DNS stage 7
    5. Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) DNS stage 8
    6. Mark Donovan (both Team DSM) DNS stage 8
    7. Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic) DNS stage 8
    8. Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) DNS stage 9
    9. Peter Serry (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) DNS stage 9
    10. Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) DNS stage 10
    11. Jose Herrada (Cofidis) DNS stage 10
    12. Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal) DNS stage 10
    13. Jarrad Drizners (Lotto Soudal) DNS stage 10
    14. Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) DNS stage 10
    15. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) DNS stage 10
    16. Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) DNS stage 10
    17. Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) DNS stage 11
    18. Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) DNS stage 11
    19. Roger Adrià (Equipo Kern Pharma) DNS stage 11
    20. Hector Carretero (Equipo Kern Pharma) DNS stage 11
    21. Pau Miquel Delgado (Equipo Kern Pharma) DNS stage 11
    22. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) DNS stage 12
    23. Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) DNS stage 12
    24. Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Soudal) DNS stage 16
    25. Filippo Conca (Lotto Soudal) DNS stage 17