Riders react as UAE Tour cancelled due to coronavirus

Chris Froome and Alex Dowsett are amongst those who have responded to the news

Chris Froome and Alex Dowsett are among the riders to respond to the cancellation of the UAE Tour due to coronavirus.

According to the teams and riders out at the Middle East stage race, authorities have locked down their hotel and all staff and athletes will be tested for the Covid-19 illness.

Multiple reports suggest the race has been cancelled, but that has not yet been confirmed by the race organiser. Each person given the all-clear will fly home on Saturday (February 29) while anyone testing positive for the virus will remain in quarantine for 14 days, according to the reports.

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Team Ineos rider Chris Froome said on Twitter: "It’s a shame that the UAE Tour has been cancelled but public health must come first. We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren’t any further cases.”

News of the situation emerged late on Thursday evening (February 27), after the riders changed hotels from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for the next phase of the race.

Local authorities moved in to carry out testing, as riders and staff were told not to leave their hotels over concerns about the coronavirus.

Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) said: "Well, didn’t see that one coming.'

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US rider Larry Warbasse (Ag2r La Mondiale) said: "Well we were all worried about 160k of crosswinds tomorrow but it looks like coronavirus blew stronger than the wind." 

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Astana said on Twitter: “It is reported that the UAE Tour is cancelled due to the situation with coronavirus. However, we are waiting for the official confirmation from the organisation of the race.”

Jumbo-Visma said: "We have taken note of the cancellation of the UAE Tour due to the occurrence of the coronavirus. We wish all the people involved the very best, awaiting further developments.”

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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.