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Richard Carapaz out of Tour de la Provence with COVID positive

Olympic road race champion out of French stage race but not showing symptoms, staffer on squad also positive.

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Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) will not start stage 2 of the Tour de la Provence after the Olympic road race champion returned a positive test for COVID-19.

According to reporters on the ground at the race, Carapaz had no symptoms.

“It was last night. It’s really hard to control but we have really strict protocols that we try and follow. We’re doing all we can but it’s a virus and you can get it anywhere. He tested positive with a carer who had come from Besseges. It’s unfortunate,” sport director Steve Cummings told VeloNews at the start of stage 2.

“Yesterday Richard was amazing, and this race was part of his build-up to goals later in the year so it’s a shame that we’ve lost him. We’ve not got another GC rider here so today is like another one-day race for us.”

Italian fastman Elia Viviani goes into Saturday’s lumpy stage to Manosque as an option for his team after he won stage 1 on Friday.

“We’ll try and deliver Elia to the best place possible. If the race is really hard then we’ll try and go with Ethan [Hayter] for the finish,” Cummings said.

“Ethan was also ill in January so he’s not in his top shape, so for him it’s about trying to get back and use this race to build up for the rest of the season. He’s an exciting rider and we’ll see how he is day by day. Richard was down to head home for his national championships, so I’m not what’s next now. I don’t know if it’s feasible with the travel and the time scale.”

The British WorldTour team head into stage 2 with the race lead courtesy of Filippo Ganna. The team has won the first two days of racing in this year’s race.