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Team Cofidis has confirmed it will remain in quarantine a further 10 days after being caught up in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak in the UAE.
“We have just learned that we are officially quarantined, a priori until March 14,” said team boss Thierry Vittu in a statement on the Cofidis website, Wednesday.
“Admittedly the deadline is distant (although it is only 10 days), but in a way, it is a kind of relief….what was difficult to live until now was the absence of deadline and the permanent expectation of a close outcome which never happened…. It was a source of anxiety and stress.”
The team has been placed in a 14-day lockdown under the bidding of local health authorities. Having already been quarantined four days in a hotel in Abu Dhabi, the team has another 10 days of being confined to hotel rooms, without access to indoor trainers or workout equipment.
Cofidis was one of three teams that had been placed under continued lockdown earlier this week, after an outbreak of coronavirus had been detected among riders or staff attending the UAE Tour. Members of Groupama-FDJ and Gazprom-Rusvelo were also quarantined. The teams have not yet released an update concerning their situation. UAE-Team Emirates has elected to place its riders and staff in a self-imposed quarantine to ensure rider and public safety.
The news comes in the wake of Tuesday’s news that six new cases of coronavirus linked to the UAE Tour had been unearthed. The scare has led to EF Pro Cycling, who did not attend the UAE Tour, to ask to be excused from upcoming Italian races amid fears of contagion.
The confinement will severely impact on Cofidis’ team-selection process for Strade Bianche (March 7), Paris-Nice (starting March 8) and Tirreno-Adriatico (starting March 11). With 14 days off the bike, those placed in quarantine will have some serious catch-up to do ahead of the major spring classics in April and the Giro d’Italia in May.
Despite the huge setback to his team’s early-season in its first year back at the WorldTour, Vittu was able to remain optimistic, saying:
“Now we know what to expect, and even if the confinement in the room continues, everyone will succeed in finding occupations, distractions, activities…”
“We will remain united with each other, aware that we are living a collective adventure, that we would have liked not to live, but which will teach us about ourselves and about others. We already tell ourselves that in a few months, we will laugh between us … proof that we are already planning!”