Fernando Gaviria confirms he has coronavirus

Rumours had been circulating that the Colombian sprinter had caught the Covid-19 virus

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Fernando Gaviria has confirmed he has coronavirus.

The Colombian sprinter has been off the radar since the UAE Tour was abandoned late last month, but he has since released a video confirming that he caught the Covid-19 virus.

UAE Team Emirates rider Gaviria was riding the seven-stage race when the final two stages were abandoned because of an outbreak of the virus in the team hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Gaviria, the UAE team and three other squads were kept under quarantine in their hotel for two weeks while health authorities carried out tests.

In a video statement posted on social media, the 25-year-old said in Spanish: "Hello everyone, I know that there have been many rumours about my state of health, but I am fine.

"I have been here in constant examinations that have given me a positive result for the coronavirus, but I feel well."

He added: "I am here to avoid spreading the virus to more people."

The UAE Tour was cancelled after stage five when the race organiser announced that a member of staff from an unnamed team had tested positive for the virus.

All riders, staff and media at the race were quarantined in their hotel rooms while health authorities carried out tests, with most people being free to go home by March 1.

But UAE Team Emirates, Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ, and Gazprom-RusVelo were all kept locked down for further tests, with Cofidis and Groupama then being released.

However, UAE and Gazprom are still being kept in the Abu Dhabi, as Russian squad Gazprom announced that their rider Dmitry Strakhov had tested positive for the virus.

>>> Cycling and coronavirus: Everything you need to know

Gaviria is the second rider confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19, which has caused a huge dent in the cycling calendar.

A number races have been cancelled, including Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, while some teams took the decision to pull out of races to protect the health of their riders.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.