Ethan Hayter withdraws from Vuelta a España after testing positive for Covid-19

The 23-year-old leaves the Spanish Grand Tour on the morning of the stage ten ITT

Ethan Hayter Vuelta a Espana Covid-19
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) has withdrawn early from the Vuelta a España, due to returning a positive Covid-19 lateral flow test ahead of stage ten today (Tuesday).

The 23-year-old therefore won't take to the start line of the 30.9km time trial from Elche to Alicante, and is the British team's first abandonment of the race. 

Ineos Grenadiers wrote on Twitter: "In line with team and UCI protocols, Ethan Hayter has this morning withdrawn from the Vuelta a España after returning a positive lateral flow test."

UCI protocols state: "[The mandatory measures are that] on the rest days of the event (29 August and 5 September), a Covid-19 antigen test for all team members (riders and staff), as well as for Commissaires (International and National), UCI Technical Delegates and anti-doping control personnel.

Hayter leaves the race just days after telling Cycling Weekly he was confident of stage wins at the Vuelta this year, despite having failed to challenge on any of the opening stages. His best finish came on stage four, where he finished seventh, but he explained the TT was a specific stage he was targeting.

However, he will have to forego that ambition, his positive Covid-19 test abruptly ending his Grand Tour debut. Hayter will now switch his focus to the World Championships in Australia on September 25, where he will compete for Great Britain in the road race. 

Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar) and Jarrad Drizners (Lotto Soudal) have also withdrawn from the Spanish Grand Tour, after testing positive during Monday's mandatory tests. 

Norsgaard's Movistar team tweeted: Unfortunately, Mathias Norsgaard has returned a positive result in a Covid test and won't be able to continue in the Vuelta on Tuesday. 

"It's sad to see your maiden Grand Tour end in this abrupt way, especially with Dannebrog waiting for you tomorrow. Get well soon mate."

Meanwhile, Drizners' Lotto Soudal said: Unfortunately, Jarrad Drizners has to leave this due to Covid. We wish our Australian grand tour debutant a fast recovery. 

"Thanks for all your work and see you soon, Jarrad."

In total, 13 riders have so far withdrawn from the race after testing positive for the virus, after just nine completed stages of the Vuelta. In comparison, at last month’s Tour de France, 16 riders went home early having contracted the virus.

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