Alpecin-Fenix pull out of Volta a Catalunya due to positive Covid-19 tests

The Belgian team have already had to abandon the UAE Tour with a positive test in the team earlier this year

Alpecin-Fenix will not be taking part in the 2021 Volta a Catalunya due to positive Covid-19 tests within the team.

The team announced in a statement on Twitter that they would not be racing in Spain, explaining that three members of the team returned positive results in their first batch of tests, forcing them to pull out.

>>> Chris Froome, Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel among highest paid riders, according to report

The statement said: “Alpecin-Fenix has decided, in accordance with the organisers of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, not to participate in the 100th edition of the race, in compliance with the health protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“The team and race organisers have informed the UCI of the situation prior to taking this decision.

“Three members of Alpecin-Fenix recently returned positive test results. In order to minimise the risk of spreading the virus, it has been decided to isolate and quarantine all the team’s staff that were supposed to travel to the Volta.

“Given that, it’s impossible for our team to replace the entire staff before for the Volta. Therefore, in accordanace with the organisers, we will not be present at the centenary edition of the Volta.

“We want to emphasise that this decision was taken to protect the health of everyone involved and for the benefit of the cycling bubble, in order to ensure a safe beginning of the race.

“We wish the race organisation and the other teams a successful 100th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and hope to be there next year for edition 101. Be safe and take care of each other!”

This is the second race that the team has had to pull out of after a positive test within the team saw them abandon the UAE Tour after stage one, which was won by their star rider, Mathieu van der Poel.

>>> Sam Bennett says he needs to ‘pray for a headwind and try to hang on’ in Milan-San Remo

That turned out to be relatively easy to deal with as all the riders travelled back to Belgium and the Netherlands within the week, with Van der Poel going on to race the next weekend at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

The Volta a Catalunya is set to take place between March 22 and 28 with some of the world’s biggest names taking to the start list, including Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), and Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic).