Groupama-FDJ pull out of Scheldeprijs 2021 after Covid-19 positive

The team presentations at the start of the day were cancelled due to snow and cold temperatures in Belgium

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Groupama-FDJ have had to pull out from racing at the Belgian one-day race of Scheldeprijs due to a positive Coronavirus test within the team.

The French squad were set to start with their star sprinter and French champion, Arnaud Démare, who recently took his first win of the season at La Roue Tourangelle where he beat Nacer Bouhanni (Akéa-Samsic) to the line.

The team put out a short Tweet earlier this morning (April 7) saying: "We will not take the start of the Scheldeprijs this Wednesday, due to the positive test for Covid-19 of one of our team members."

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It is not yet clear whether the positive was within the riders or the staff, but the team have taken the correct procedure.

Other teams have had to do the same at other big races with Alpecin-Fenix, Bora-Hansgrohe, Trek-Segafredo, and Kern-Pharma all having to abandon races due to positive tests from riders or staff members.

Démare will likely be frustrated as he would have wanted to kick start his season after getting his first win of the year. The French champion won 14 times in 2020, which made him the rider with the most wins in the year. It also earned him the points jersey at the Giro d'Italia, where he took four wins.

The weather has also played a part in the team presentation having to be cancelled due to the bitterly cold weather and snow.

This meant that the riders in both the men's and women's races did not do the usual sign-on on the stage and instead went straight to the start line.

Scheldeprijs finishes in the town of Schoten with the men's race starting in Terneuzen before taking on a windswept 193.8km whereas the women's race started and finishes in Schoten after 136.2km.

The race usually comes down to a mass sprint finish with some of the biggest names in the sprinting world taking to the men's race. The now retired Marcel Kittel holds the record for the most wins with five wins between 2012 and 2017.

This year sees the first-ever women's edition of the race and the race has attracted some big with top sprinters like Lorena Wiebes (DSM), Marta Bastianelli (Alé-Ljubljana-BTC), Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service), and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) all riding.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.