Coronavirus outbreak: UAE Tour cancelled due to two 'suspected' cases

Adam Yates
Britain's Adam Yates retained his overall lead after stage forward and was awarded the victory following the cancellation of the final two stages

Cycling's governing body, the UCI, says the final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled because of two "suspected" cases of coronavirus.

The body says the decision to cancel was taken while still waiting for test results, but was "in the interests of the health of riders and their staff".

Organisers had earlier said that two Italian "staff members" had tested positive for the virus.

Britain's Adam Yates, who led after stage five, was declared the winner.

Riders at the event, including Yates and fellow Briton Chris Froome, are now being tested for the virus.

"The UCI is doing everything within its power to ensure the health of riders and people concerned," read a statement.

"The country's public authorities have taken the health measures recommended in such circumstances, including testing everyone involved in the race.

"Depending on the results obtained, these individuals will either be able to leave the country or, if contamination is confirmed, will be placed in quarantine."

Before the Tour was cancelled, Danish cyclist Michael Morkov had travelled from the UAE to Berlin for the World Track Cycling Championships.

He is currently in isolation in his hotel room but a team spokesperson says that has been done as a "precaution", adding that Morkov, who is to be tested for coronavirus, is "fine and showing no symptoms".

Denmark team officials will meet with the UCI on Saturday morning to discuss the situation.

Morkov, due to compete in the madison on Sunday, flew to Germany on Thursday and was present at the velodrome that night.

On Friday the UCI added it was "closely monitoring" the impact on the championships in Berlin following the cancellation of the UAE Tour.

Cycling's governing body added that a "follow-up" to the preventive measures currently in place in Berlin would be determined once the test results from Abu Dhabi have been obtained.

Spain's former madison world champion Albert Torres is also due to compete in Berlin this weekend.

On Twitter, his Movistar Team said his presence in the German capital "depends on the test results and subsequent instructions from the authorities".

More than 80,000 people in nearly 50 countries have been infected by coronavirus.

Nearly 2,800 have died, with the majority of the deaths in China.

Italy and Iran have become major centres of infection, with people travelling from those countries spreading the virus further afield.

The UAE's ministry of health and prevention said all riders, administrative staff and organisers will be examined through "continuous periodic screening" and quarantine measures will be taken to "curb the spread of its outbreak".

Four-time Tour de France winner Froome was back racing for the first time since breaking his leg at the Criterium du Dauphine in June last year.

"It's a shame that the UAE Tour has been cancelled but public health must come first," Froome tweeted.

"We're awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice.

"I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren't any further cases."