UCI stands by decision to halt UAE Tour over coronavirus uncertainty | Sport

Cycling’s governing body is monitoring developments in Abu Dhabi and Berlin after Chris Froome was among those tested for the coronavirus, while Ferrari’s chief has demanded assurances about the risks Formula One teams may face before travelling to the Australian Grand Prix.

Michael Morkov, a Danish cyclist who took part in the first four stages of the UAE Tour before travelling to the German capital to compete in the track world championships, has been placed in solitary confinement at his team’s hotel as a precaution.

The road race was cancelled late on Thursday after two positives tests among staff members of an unnamed team.

The UCI insisted on Friday that the decision had been taken by the organisers RCS Sport before the results of tests were known, with at least one of those checked now understood to have not contracted Covid-19.

“The Union Cycliste Internationale confirms that the two final stages of the UAE Tour, which were to be raced on Friday and Saturday, were cancelled late on Friday evening after two cases of coronavirus were suspected among two staff members of one of the participating teams,” a UCI statement said.

“While waiting for the results of tests and their communication, the United Arab Emirates authorities, the event’s organising committee and the UCI, by mutual agreement, took the decision to interrupt this event, the third race on the 2020 WorldTour calendar, in the interests of the health of riders and their staff, and to avoid the virus spreading.”

The four-times Tour de France winner Froome and veteran sprinter Mark Cavendish were among the riders tested for the virus having also been confined to their rooms at their Abu Dhabi hotel, with concerns that Morkov’s transit to Europe could have implications for the event in Berlin. Yet a spokesperson for the Danish team said the team still expected the 34-year-old – who is training on a stationary bike in his room – to be able to race in the madison this weekend.

Mattia Binotto said Ferrari have encountered problems travelling to an F2 test event in Bahrain because of fears over the virus and urged clarity for the first F1 race of the season in Melbourne on 15 March.

“Some of our engineers going there have remained home, so instead of taking the risk to be there and eventually staying there for a few days or many days, they stayed home,” he said. “I think what we will need is simply to have assurance before leaving.

“I don’t think we can discover when [we are there] what can be or what will be the situation. So if there are any medical screenings, we need to know about them. You need to know exactly what’s about. We need to understand what are the consequences in case of any problem?”

It has emerged that England’s rugby team have been training at a school in Oxford where pupils have been placed in self-isolation as a preventative measure against the threat of the coronavirus.

St Edward’s school has taken the precautionary steps – in line with advice from Public Health England – after a group of pupils had travelled to an affected area, or came into contact with those who had.

On Thursday, Eddie Jones’s 25-man squad spent the morning training at the school grounds, as has become customary in recent years for the second fallow week of the Six Nations. Jones’s squad are currently preparing for their must-win match against Wales on Saturday week.

A school spokesperson for St Edward’s told the Oxford Mail: “A small number of our pupils who have recently travelled to an affected area, or had close contact with someone who has travelled to an affected area, either have been, or are currently, undergoing a period of quarantine at home.”

An RFU spokesperson said: “Having spoken to the school and applied the Government’s current advice regarding the risk of transmission of coronavirus, we are satisfied that there is no additional concern to the England Senior team players coaches and management.”


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