The St-Michel-Auber 93 team pulled out of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et Var just a few minutes before the start of Sunday’s final stage after a member of the team tested positive for COVID-19.
The French Continental team announced the news via social media, explaining the positive case was discovered after riders underwent COVID-19 testing so they can ride the Faun-Ardèche Classic race scheduled for next Saturday.
The St-Michel-Auber 93 team is still on the entry list for the Faun-Ardèche Classic but may have to field riders and staff not linked to the COVID-19 case at the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et Var and undergo extra testing in the days ahead.
The St-Michel-Auber 93 team did not communicate if the positive case involved a rider or staff member and did not reveal if other riders and staff have been placed into isolation after possible close contact with the COVID-19 positive case.
According to reports in France, the St-Michel-Auber 93 team decided to quit the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et Var after talks with the race organiser. Team leader Stéphane Rossetto was best placed before the start of the final stage, 84th overall, at 10:39.
As part of a special UCI COVID-19 medical protocol, teams have to undergo tests before being allowed to take part in races. The specific timing of the tests depends on a team’s race programme but generally includes a test six days before a race and again three days before the race.
The possibility of a COVID-19 case emerging during a race has been the biggest concern amongst riders and the race entourage in the last year.
There have been a number of cases in major races, including the Tour de France, with riders and staff obliged to self-isolate after testing positive or having a close contact with a positive case.
Peter Sagan and several of his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates recently tested positive during a privately organised training camp and were obliged to quarantine. However the case within the St-Michel-Auber 93 team is believed to be the first case at a race during the 2021 season.