Dubai: Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France champion who was among those quarantined in Abu Dhabi since Friday following tests for Coronavirus, have now been cleared to leave the hotel along with his Team Ineos colleagues and travel home. The UAE Tour, billed as a comeback vehicle for Froome since his horrifying injury last year, was cancelled on Friday with two stages still to go after two suspected cases among team members.
Authorities announced on Saturday that the first 167 tests for the virus had come back negative and there have been no further official updates. Around 600 riders, staff members and media, have been tested.
“All our riders and staff now leaving UAE after being given the all clear,” Team Ineos tweeted. “Thank you to all those who have helped us and looked after the team over recent days.”
Team Jumbo-Visma have also announced that their riders and staff are leaving the UAE, while Alex Dowsett’s Israel-Start Up Nation squad posted pictures from the airport as they began their journey.
A news report in The Guardian says journalists who are confined to a separate hotel have reported they are still under lockdown, while there are reports that at least four teams – Groupama-FDJ, Cofidis, Quick-Step and Gazprom-RusVelo – were being kept in quarantine awaiting further test results.
Team UAE-Emirates, the home team whose young rider Tadej Pogacar won the fifth stage before the Tour was called off, have tweeted that their team members have all tested negative. ''Despite being given the green light to travel back home and the last tests carried out coming back negative, our team has decided to extend their stay in the UAE to continue testing everyone's conditions."
Cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, later said they were only “suspected” cases. Reports on Saturday suggested that the two technical staff of a team had tested negative for Covid-19.
Earlier on Saturday, the UCI has also cleared Michael Morkov to compete at the track cycling world championships in Berlin. The Danish cyclist had travelled to Germany from the UAE Tour prior to the lockdown being put in place.