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VN news ticker: Bora-Hansgrohe, Trek-Segafredo men’s team out of Gent-Wevelgem

Here's the news making headlines for Sunday, March 28.

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Trek-Segafredo men’s team pulls out of Gent-Wevelgem due to COVID

Trek-Segafredo men’s team will not be racing Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday. The squad confirmed early Sunday morning that COVID-19 positives in the team have forced the withdrawal.

The news makes for a major blow for both the team and the race, with defending champion  Mads Pedersen, Milano-Sanremo winner Jasper Stuyven, and promising classics racer Quinn Simmons all struck from the start sheet.

The women’s team and staff were separate from the men and so are still able to start their race, also Sunday.

“One team member tested positive for coronavirus on Friday 26. They were then put into isolation along with the other team members who had been in close contact with them. The entire team underwent an extra PCR test which revealed a positive result for one of the isolated members,” read a statement from the team.

“The team has decided to withdraw from Gent-Wevelgem whilst we do further testing before we can safely return to competition.”

Bora-Hansgrohe prevented from racing Gent-Wevelgem

Bora-Hansgrohe was unable to start Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday as a result of being deemed ‘high risk’ contacts of a team member who tested positive for COVID ahead of Friday’s E3 Saxo Bank Classic.

“Bora-Hansgrohe hoped to start because they experienced the quarantine of 17 people as unreasonable,” race organizer Thomas Van Den Spiegel told Belgian media Sunday morning. “But if the competition doctor in good conscience places these 17 people in quarantine and defines them as high-risk contacts, then we as an organizer certainly cannot change anything. We cannot overrule that decision.”

After rider Matt Walls had tested positive before Friday’s race, 17 riders and staffers all returned negative results in subsequent PCR tests, but due to being in close contact with Walls, were required to go into isolation for seven days. Despite hoping to start Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday morning, the team was turned away.

“It would put the whole quarantine system in jeopardy,” Van Den Spiegel said. “After contacts with the team, the UCI, Belgian Cycling and the Ministry of Sport, we have to accept that the quarantine is there and unfortunately we cannot let them start.”

Promising cobbles rider Nils Politt was set to headline the team while Peter Sagan races the Volta a Catalunya.

Bora-Hansgrohe manager Ralph Denk later issued a statement suggesting the criteria regarding who was placed under quarantine was unclear after only two-thirds of the squad in Belgium had been placed in confinement.

“I am very disappointed and angry,” Denk said. “A GP from the region can block an entire team in one of the largest one-day races in the world. We had a positive corona case with Walls and have the roommate and a physio as category 1 contact persons. That they have to be isolated and quarantined is absolutely clear. However, we of course have other riders and staff on-site, so a part of them were also ordered to be in quarantine, but only some of them. Who was selected and the reasons are completely unclear and it seems rather arbitrary.”

“We are testing every day at the moment and all the tests so far have been negative, without exception. The part of the team that has been quarantined will be quarantined until 1 April. This also means that we cannot start at Dwars Door Vlaanderen [on Wednesday].”

Jonas Vingegaard seals GC at Coppi e Bartali

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) won the Coppi e Bartali, which finished Saturday. Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) won the final stage after bettering Vingegaard in a two-man sprint after the duo had broken clear of an attack group.

Honoré finished second overall while Nick Schultz (BikeExchange) finished third.

“I am very happy with this victory. This gives a lot of confidence for the coming races,” said the 24-year-old Dane.

Vingegaard scored two stage wins on the way to his GC victory and now sets his sights on Itzulia Basque Country early April and the Ardennes classics.

Fabio Jakobsen slated to return to racing at Tour of Turkey, Remco Evenepoel to make Giro d’Italia comeback

Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefeverve has sketched out racing programs for his two returning stars, Remco Evenepoel and Fabio Jakobsen.

Some seven months after his crash at the Tour of Poland, Jakobsen is likely to race the Tour of Turkey (April 11-18). Evenepoel is still on track to make his racing return at the Giro d’Italia in May, where he will be supported by João Almeida.

“Fabio spent a month in Spain with his girlfriend to train. His girlfriend rides a moped – that’s handy. We hope that he can resume in the Tour of Turkey, and then we’ll see what progress he makes,” Lefevere told Het Laatste Nieuws.

“Remco is doing well. He has just finished a training camp in Tenerife. He dares to go to the Giro without competition … Whether he can compete earlier? That is suggested here and there. However, Remco is very strong-headed – he knows what he wants. The Giro will be his first race.”