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His team announced Friday morning that the 19-year-old Spaniard had tested positive for the virus but that, in consultation with UCI doctors, he would be allowed to continue the race.
Ayuso currently sits in fifth place overall at 4:53 behind race leader Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) following a strong performance in the opening half of the Vuelta.
“As per our internal protocols Juan Ayuso was tested for COVID-19 and returned a positive result this morning. He is asymptomatic and analyzing his PCR found he had a very low risk of infectivity, similar to cases such as we saw at this year’s Tour de France,” the team’s medical director Dr. Adrian Rotunno said.
“We have made the decision in consultation with medical representatives from the race organization and the UCI. We are aware of Juan’s clinical picture and are closely monitoring his situation.”
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Ayuso is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Vuelta a España that has been allowed to continue the race, though there is precedent for it. At the Tour de France, Ayuso’s teammate Rafal Majka was allowed to race on after testing positive for the virus, as was AG2R-Citroën’s Bob Jungels.
Earlier this week, Ayuso had complained of feeling unwell and suffering from a headache to reporters following Tuesday’s time trial, though tests for COVID-19 at the time came back as negative.
There have so far been 23 abandons at the Vuelta as a result of riders testing positive for coronavirus. Among those to depart early after catching the virus were GC contenders Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers).