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Alpecin-Deceuninck exits Tour of Poland as COVID surges through team staff

COVID continues to claw at pro cycling as five Alpecin-Deceuninck staffers test positive while all riders return negative tests.

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COVID-19 continues to claw at the peloton as a mass of cases hit the Alpecin-Deceuninck camp.

The Belgian team took the call to exit the Tour of Poland on Monday after five staffers tested positive. All the team’s riders at the Polish race tested negative.

The news marks the first exit of a full team from a top race since the COVID-crippled Tour de Suisse in June. A number of riders were also forced out of last month’s Tour de France after testing positive for the virus.

“We are sorry to announce our withdrawal from Tour de Pologne after five COVID cases within our team staff onsite.
In the interest of the health of our riders, team staff, and all other teams participating, we have decided – in agreement with the UCI and the local organizing committee – to leave this year’s Tour de Pologne,” read a statement from Alpecin-Deceuninck.

“We received confirmation that all tests done today with the riders turned out to be ALL negative. So no positive cases with our riders.”

Also read: Alpecin-Deceuninck scratches heads over MvdP malaise, readies for WorldTour bid

The team, this week headlined by Stefano Oldani and Jakub Mareczko, was looking for more stage wins after Jasper Philipsen bossed the bunch sprints with two victories at the Tour de France.

Meanwhile, Mathieu van der Poel was testing his legs in the Netherland’s post-Tour crit scene after abandoning midway through the French tour.

Tour of Poland continues for stage 4 on Tuesday with a long hilly race likely to see a sprint or breakaway win.