Alexey Lutsenko out of Worlds road race following positive coronavirus test

The Kazakh rider was pulled from the men's road race after returning a positive test two days before the start

Alexey Lutsenko is out of the UCI Road World Championships road race in Imola following a positive test for the coronavirus.

The absence of the Kazakh rider reduces his nation’s squad to five riders, and he could have been a contender on the lumpy Italian circuit, having won atop Mont Aigoual at the recent Tour de France.

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“Alexey Lutsenko will not be able to represent the country at the World Championships on September 27 due to a positive test for coronavirus,” a statement from the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation read.

“Lutsenko’s test showed a positive result on September 25. At the moment, the results of the re-testing are expected, on which the further program of the athlete will depend.”

The Astana rider is not said to be showing any symptoms but will now be forced to self-isolate for seven days or until he provides a negative test for COVID-19.

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Other non-starters for the 258km circuit race were Eritrea’s Natnael Berhane and Germany’s Nikias Arndt.

Racing began on Sunday morning as riders face a gruelling six and a half hours in the saddle as they battle it out for the rainbow bands.

Defending champion Mads Pedersen has not taken the start line, the hilly parcours not suiting his attributes, with the likes of Belgium’s Wout van Aert and France’s Julian Alaphilippe among the favourites to take the victory.

Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar also rolled off the start line but has said he will be working to try and set up Slovenian team-mate Primož Roglič, who he beat to the yellow jersey just last week.

Anna van der Breggen won the women’s road race after attacking on the climb and soloing all the way to the finish line.

It was another dominant display from the Dutch as Annemiek van Vleuten finished second, despite riding with a broken wrist, while Marianne Vos also finished fourth.