Second rider leaves Vuelta a España due to Covid positive
Jan Hirt follows Dan Hoole home from Spain
A second rider has headed home from the Vuelta a España after contracting Covid, as the pandemic still looms large over the final Grand Tour of the year.
Jan Hirt of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert departed the race ahead of stage six, with his team confirming that he tested positive on Thursday morning.
The Czech rider follows Dan Hoole of Trek-Segafredo, who was forced to leave the Vuelta before stage five started.
Intermarché wrote on Twitter: "Unfortunately, Jan Hirt will not appear at the start of stage 6 after returning a positive test for COVID-19 this morning. See you back on the roads soon, Jan."
Ruben de Gendt, the team's doctor, said: "We closely monitored Jan Hirt the last couple of days until a test this morning showed the presence of Covid-19. Jan presented mild symptoms and was isolated from the group immediately. He will withdraw from this Vuelta."
Meanwhile, Trek said on Wednesday: "He's done a fantastic job in the opening days but unfortunately Daan Hoole will not start La Vuelta 2022 stage 5.
"Daan woke up with a slightly sore throat this morning and a subsequent rapid COVID-19 test returned a positive result. Get well soon Daan. We will miss you."
Both teams are down to seven riders as a result, and there are now 178 riders left in the race, with six riders having withdrawn from the Vuelta already.
Burgos-BH duo Manuel Peñalver and Angel Madrazo and AG2R Citroën's Dorian Godon both tested positive before the start of the race, and were therefore replaced. At July's Tour de France there were 17 positive tests in the peloton, which contributed to just 135 riders making the finish in Paris.
Covid protocols remain in place around the race, with mask-wearing still mandatory in areas; the Tour was proof that the pandemic has not ended for professional cyclists, and this has continued at the Vuelta.
There was compulsory testing prior to the race start, antigen testing on the rest days, and confirmatory PCR tests will be assessed by team, UCI, and race doctors, as happened at the Tour last month.
All teams, especially those with GC ambitions, will be hoping that Hoole and Hirt do not precipitate a sudden rush of Covid positives at the race.
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.
Unreleased Shimano GRX 12-speed spotted at Unbound Gravel
The potentially new groupset was spotted on Taylor Lideen's bike before this Saturday's racing
By Joe Baker • Published
Specialized reveals new heritage-inspired custom colorway for Unbound Gravel 2023
Ian Boswell, Sofia Villafane and other Specialized athletes will again be racing aboard custom -painted bikes at Unbound Gravel. Here's the story behind this year's paint.
By Joe Baker • Published
'Possibly La Vuelta' - what's next for Geraint Thomas?
Another Tour de France bid looks unlikely for the Ineos Grenadiers leader, despite impressive Giro d'Italia
By Tom Davidson • Published
Tourmalet, Angliru, Covadonga: what we know so far about a 'spectacular' 2023 Vuelta a España route
"It will be a very mountainous and international Vuelta," according to race organisers, with a crucial final week including the fearsome Angliru
By Chris Marshall-Bell • Last updated
Analysing the Vuelta a España's revolutionary podium and what it means for the future
The Vuelta had first teenager on a Grand Tour podium since 1904 and the youngest top five this century
By Adam Becket • Last updated
Jake Stewart bounces back from Vuelta disappointment to take aim at Worlds
British fast man is ready and raring to go for Wollongong, despite leaving Vuelta and a truncated Tour of Britain
By Adam Becket • Published
Remco Evenepoel wins maiden grand tour at Vuelta a España
Juan Sebastián Molano takes a surprise final stage win after a messy sprint in Madrid
By Owen Rogers • Published
Richard Carapaz wins the final mountain stage of the 2022 Vuelta a España
Carapaz takes his third stage win of the race as GC leader Evenepoel passes the last mountain test
By Dane Cash • Last updated
Bahrain Victorious 'stands by' Fred Wright after Primož Roglič blames him for Vuelta a España ending crash
Jumbo-Visma star says Wright “rode the handlebars out of my hands”
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Five talking points from stage 19 of the Vuelta a España
Mads Pedersen fastest once again, while Evenepoel is ready for his final test
By Adam Becket • Published