Fernando Gaviria has been released from UAE after coronavirus diagnosis

The Colombian sprinter contracted the virus during the UAE Tour in February

Fernando Gaviria at the UAE Tour 2019 (NurPhoto/Getty)
(Image credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Fernando Gaviria is finally free to leave the UAE after he contracted coronavirus.

The UAE Team Emirates sprinter is the third rider confirmed to have been diagnosed with Covid-19 after an outbreak at the 2020 edition of the UAE Tour in February.

Gaviria announced on social media earlier this month that he had contracted the virus and was being kept under quarantine to reduce further spread, but that he “felt well.”

On Friday (March 27), UAE Team Emirates announced that Gaviria has recovered and is free to go home, two days after his lead-out rider Max Richeze was also given the all clear after contracting the virus.

Gaviria said: “I would like to say a big thank you to all who supported me during my recovery period. I hope that this extraordinary period we are all living can end soon and that we can return to normality.”

The UAE Tour was abandoned with three stages remaining after the organiser announced that a member of staff from an unnamed team had tested positive for coronavirus.

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

But four teams – UAE Team Emirates, Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ and Gazprom-RusVelo were all kept locked down for further tests.

Dmitry Strakhov from Gazprom, Gaviria and Richeze all later confirmed they had tested positive for coronavirus.

Richeze said: “I want to thank all the doctors and nurses at the hospital for their help. A special thanks also to my team and all the people who gave me messages of support and love. Gracias!”

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The UAE Tour was the first time coronavirus impacted cycling at the highest level, but the virus has now completely upended the racing calendar.

With dozens of races now cancelled or postponed, the next men’s WorldTour race scheduled to run is the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, but as no-one knows how long this crisis will last that could change at any time.

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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.