Confusion continues to surround the quarantine at the UAE Tour as some teams remain on lockdown amid unconfirmed reports of three riders testing positive for coronavirus on Saturday night.
Many had been given the all-clear to leave their hotels, with riders, team staff and media just waiting on paperwork confirming they could leave the country, before ambulances and medical staff returned to perform further tests.
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The validity of these latest positive tests remains unclear, while uncertainty also surrounds the two initial positive tests that were reported, with the first 450 tests out of 600 for the virus coming back negative. Authorities and race organisers are yet to provide an official update on the situation.
Israel Start-Up Nation, Jumbo-Visma, Ineos and Bora-Hansgrohe have all confirmed they’ve been allowed to leave their hotel and are heading home. Meanwhile, UAE Team Emirates say they’ve decided to stay put and undergo further tests “despite being given the green light to travel home” after a number of people within their camp have been suffering from flu.
In a statement, UAE Team Emirates said: “Our team cares more about the health of our athletes and staff than race results, and we are well aware that extending our stay in isolation will hamper our sporting ambitions in view of the upcoming events.
“Until yesterday we have followed the instructions of the relevant authorities and organizers, while today we have decided autonomously to pursue our own measures.
“Our hope is to return home as soon as possible with a clear situation.”
According to journalist Sophie Smith, those still on lockdown in their hotels need to get their names checked off a list of negative test results and then will have flights rebooked for them. Before the last two stages of the WorldTour race were cancelled, the final stage seven was due to close out the race on Saturday.
Once people receive government-issued paperwork that certifies their negative test result, they will only be allowed to fly back to the country they hold a passport for.
Race organisers RCS, who also organise Strade Bianche, scheduled for Saturday March 7, as well as Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, faced fears the quarantine could impact these races due to having a number of their staff on lockdown in a hotel on another continent.