‘We’re going home’: FDJ and Cofidis finally allowed to leave quarantine at UAE Tour

UAE Team Emirates and Gazprom-RusVelo still remain in quarantine

Groupama-FDJ and Cofidis have been released from quarantine at the UAE Tour and allowed to travel home.

The two French teams had been kept inside their hotels since the cancellation of the final two stages of the Middle Eastern race at the end of February when the first reports of coronavirus infections among those at the race were reported.

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Sprinter Arnaud Démare and climber David Gaudu are among the riders now allowed to leave, with some riders on the team having already flown home, including Bruno Armirail who travelled straight from hospital back to Andorra without any of his belongings.

Cofidis were also allowed home after their third set of tests for coronavirus came back negative. Jesús Herrada, Nathan Haas and Attilio Viviani were among the riders who had been kept on lockdown, with one of their sports directors threatening to go on hunger strike if the situation wasn’t resolved soon.

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Team boss Cédric Vasseur thanked race organisers and UCI boss David Lappartient on the end of their quarantine, saying: “Thank you so much to everyone who worked day and night to anticipate the team’s return and make them smile again.”

Groupama-FDJ boss Marc Madiot met his riders and team staff at Paris airport with champagne and crêpes to celebrate their return.

UAE Team Emirates and Gazprom-RusVelo remain in quarantine after the four teams were held back last week following six new infections coming to light, including two Russians, two Italians a German and a Colombian.

Riders had reported their morale was suffering as they remained on lockdown, unable to exercise until their bikes were eventually brought up to their rooms.

“This is the most critical time of the year coming up to the early-season Classics, which is really my bread and butter,” Nathan Haas said at the time.

“It’s highly frustrating and from a professional perspective our team is really hurting because we’re being disadvantaged.”