with six new cases including four at the Soudal Quick-Step, 15 riders have given up due to Covid since the start

Six new riders gave up to start the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday after testing positive for COVID-19.

The wave continues. Since the start of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday 6 May, the peloton has lost a total of 14 riders, at the dawn of stage 11 between Camaiore and Tortona, Wednesday 17 May. Six new cases have indeed appeared within the teams.

The Soudal Quick-Step is the formation most affected by the epidemic. After the departure of the pink jersey Remco Evenpoel on Sunday evening, the Belgian team announced, before the start of the stage, the withdrawal of four new riders, with positive results: Jan Hirt, Josef Cerny, Louis Vervaeke and Mattia Cattaneode.

“Two other riders were unwell on Monday morning, but the antigen tests came back negative. A PCR test was then carried out on the remaining seven riders, the results of which showed all four riders were positive. Iindicates Soudal doctor Quick-Step in the press release [en anglais]. Patrick Lefevere’s team finds itself decimated, with only three riders still in the race.

The Giro hit by Covid

At the same time, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroën) also declared himself positive for Covid-19, as did another Italian, Stefano Gandin (Corratec). This then brings the total to 15 riders withdrawn because they tested positive for Covid within the peloton. Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic) had abandoned during the 6th stage, Nicola Conci (Alpecin) and Giovanni Aleotti (Bora) during the 7th stage, Filippo Ganna (Ineos) during the 8th, Rigoberto Uran (EasyPost) during the 9th, Callum Scotson (Jayco Al-Ula), Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step), Sven Erik Bystrom (Intermarché) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Israel PT) during stage 10, and thus the six new cases at the start of stage 11.

After the announcement of the retirement of the pink jersey Remco Evenepoel and Rigoberto Uran on Sunday, the organizers announced a strengthening of health measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus, which however now seems to be well established in the Giro.

Nothing in the regulation obliges teams to stop their riders affected by the virus. Sven Bystrom (Intermarché), positive on Monday, had thus decided to continue the Giro, assuming the risk of transmitting the virus, before giving up on Tuesday morning, because the symptoms had finally appeared. Most teams, however, prefer to apply the precautionary principle, citing uncertainties about the health consequences of extreme exertion produced during a Covid-19 infection.

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