Alpecin-Fenix leaves the UAE Tour after positive Covid-19 test

The Belgian team were celebrating stage one victory yesterday

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alpecin-Fenix have confirmed that they are leaving the UAE Tour after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.

The team from Belgium won stage one with Mathieu van der Poel on Sunday (February 21) but it was revealed on Monday that a staff member of the team has tested positive for the virus and went into isolation immediately.

>>> Mathieu van der Poel hails ‘cyclocross shape in the desert’ as key to UAE Tour stage win

In a joint statement from the race and the team they said: "Alpecin-Fenix, in agreement with the UAE Tour organiser, have decided to withdraw its team from the race, in order to safeguard the race bubble and ensure the safe continuation of the race.

"The team was notified of one positive result of a member of its staff from the round of tests conducted on Sunday evening, February 21.

"Upon receiving the results, the person immediately went into isolation, and all those who came into contact with this person are self-isolating, in compliance with the protocol measures put in place by the race organisers and UAE Health Authorities. All team members will undertake further tests in the coming days, while they remain in isolation."

Last year's race saw the final two stages cancelled due to the Coronavirus with riders, staff members and organisers all catching the virus, which meant that everyone had to quarantine in their hotel.

The riders are based in the same hotel this year at the Yas Marina circuit, used for the penultimate round of the Formula One championships, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) was given the win after taking a stage on the first ascent of the Jebel Hafeet climb, which is due to be ridden tomorrow (February 23) at this year's event, before he then defended the jersey for Mitchelton-Scott a couple of days later.

This year's race kicked off with mayhem, but in a racing way, as the win whipped through the field, splitting it to piece with echelons all over the road.

Eventually seeing Deceuninck - Quick-Step and several other strong riders get away, they stayed away to bettle out the sprint with Dutch road race champion, Van der Poel taking the win ahead of young rider David Dekker (Jumbo-Visma).

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.