Yates out of Giro after testing positive for COVID-19

GIOVINAZZO, ITALY (AFP) – British rider Simon Yates (pic below) has withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia after testing positive for COVID-19, his team Mitchelton-Scott said yesterday.

Team leader Yates, who won the Vuelta in 2018, was 21st in the overall standings before the eighth stage yesterday.

He becomes the first rider to test positive at a Grand Tour race after four cases were found among team members – none of them competitors – during the Tour de France.

“Simon’s health remains our main concern and, thankfully, his symptoms remain very mild and he is otherwise in good health,” team doctor Matteo Beltemacchi said in a statement.

Yates tested positive after developing a slight fever on Friday, Mitchelton-Scott said. A second test confirmed the positive result.

The 28-year-old was isolated in his room during the process and was being transported by ambulance to begin a period of quarantine, Mitchelton-Scott added.

But the team said its remaining riders all tested negative and had been cleared to take part in the race.

“All other riders and staff have returned negative results and have been cleared to continue the race, but as a precautionary measure we will monitor the situation closely and undergo further testing in the coming days,” Beltemacchi said.

Yates’ positive raises inevitable questions about how he caught the virus and whether he passed it on to others.