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Dillier pulled from Strade Bianche after positive COVID test

Ag2r-La Mondiale rider claims to have no symptoms and has since returned negative test results.

Swiss rider Silvan Dillier has been withdrawn from Saturday’s Strade Bianche.

The Ag2r-La Mondiale rouleur is the first athlete to have been pulled from a race, having returned a positive coronavirus test since the season restarted last week.

Dillier was due to travel to Italy earlier this week, however his plans were abandoned when he received test results suggesting infection. He has since been placed in quarantine, leaving his team with six riders for Saturday’s WorldTour opener.

Riders from UAE-Team Emirates and Israel Start-Up Nation were withdrawn from racing before the opening stages of Vuelta a Burgos after it was confirmed that they had been in contact with people later returning positive coronavirus tests. However, when the riders concerned were subsequently tested themselves, they were all given the green light, suggesting that they had not picked up the virus.

Dillier, 29, told Swiss outlet Blick that he felt 100 percent and has no symptoms, and cast doubt over the results of his initial test having returned negative results since originally being confirmed positive.

“I feel really bad mentally,” Dillier said Friday.  “I am the healthiest person on earth.”

“I’ve had more tests in the past few days and they have all been negative. Even with a blood test, all values ​​were good.”

The rest of Dillier’s Ag2r-La Mondiale team have been given the all-clear to race in Tuscany Saturday. Having placed second in Paris-Roubaix in 2018, the loss of Dillier will come as a blow for team leader Oliver Naesen. Meanwhile, whether Dillier is positive for COVID or not, he remains in quarantine with his planned start at Tour of Poland Wednesday now in doubt.