Bora-Hansgrohe manager Ralph Denk says he is “angry and disappointed” after the decision by the E3 Saxo Bank Classic Covid doctor to impose a seven-day quarantine on two-thirds of his team after Matt Walls tested positive for coronavirus, meaning the WorldTour outfit will now miss both Ghent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen.
The German team had been given the green light by the UCI and Ghent-Wevelgem race organisers, after being forced to pull out of the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, before the E3 doctor ordered the seven-day quarantine, with Flanders Classics CEO Tomas Van Den Spiegel telling Sporza he can’t overrule a doctor who has designated seventeen people from the team as “high-risk contact”.
“Seventeen people from Bora-Hansgrohe have been designated by the doctor as ‘high-risk contact’ and have now been quarantined. As an organisation, we cannot overrule such a quarantine measure,” he said.
Denk, however, says he can’t understand the decision, calling it unclear and arbitrary.
“I am very disappointed and angry. A GP from the region can block an entire team in one of the largest one-day races in the world,” Denk said. “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.
“Honestly, I can’t understand why other teams are allowed to race after similar cases. We tried everything last night, but the doctor didn’t even answer us anymore. It would be nice to at least understand how he has justified his decisions.
“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 April 1. This also means that we cannot start at Dwars Door Vlaanderen.”
Peter Sagan opted to race himself into form at the Volta a Catalunya, and appears to have done just that after taking the stage six victory, instead of ingratiating himself with Belgian cobbles ahead of the Tour of Flanders, a decision which has now proved prescient.
Trek-Segafredo will also not start Ghent-Wevelgem after one team member tested positive, their women’s team unaffected and able to start as the two camps have remained separated.