Vincenzo Nibali misses upcoming Ruta del Sol after testing positive for Covid-19

Astana-Qazaqstan shared on Twitter the Italian is currently "asymptomatic"

Vincenzo Nibali Covid-19
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Vincenzo Nibali will miss the upcoming Ruta del Sol as he becomes the latest rider in the peloton to catch the omicron variant of Covid-19. 

Astana-Qazaqstan announced on Twitter that Nibali had contracted an "asymptomatic" case, and therefore won't be racing the five-stage race starting on Wednesday in the Andalucía region of Spain.

"Unfortunately, Vincenzo Nibali will be forced to change his racing program and to miss Vuelta a Andalucía due to an asymptomatic COVID-19," an Astana statement read. "The team will communicate about his new racing program later."

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UCI medical protocol will require Nibali to undergo a series of heart and lung check-ups before he can race again, making it unclear whether the four-time Grand Tour winner will compete in Omloop Het Nieuwblad at the end of February.

The 37-year-old entered his 18th professional season in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana at the beginning of the month, finishing 16th in the general classification as Aleksandr Vlasov took the win

In order to focus on racing the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, Nibali scrapped his plans to ride all five Monuments. However, it is still likely he will compete at Milan-San Remo, which he won in 2018, and at Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Nibali's positive Covid-19 test isn't anything new in the peloton though, with a number of riders forced to miss races and alter plans due to infections. João Rodrigues is unable to defend his Volta ao Algarve title this weekend, while Alejandro Valverde decided not to start his home race at the Vuelta a Murcia. 

Meanwhile, a positive test forced Richard Carapaz to pull out of the Tour de la Provence last week ahead of the second stage, with Tadej Pogačar also testing positive last week - though he wasn't racing, and is still confirmed to race the UAE Tour this month.

Teams are stringently sticking to rules in order to limit infections, adhering to the UCI's pre-race screenings and imposing measures of their own too. Jumbo-Visma epitomised this last month, closing down their pre-season training camp in Spain after an outbreak of cases.

The Belgian outfit, along with BikeExchange-Jayco, also withdrew from the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana after some riders returned positive results.

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