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Simon Yates has withdrawn from the 2020 Giro d’Italia after testing positive for Covid-19, his Mitchelton-Scott team announced Saturday. The British rider and recent winner of Tirreno Adriatico becomes the first rider to test positive at the race. All of his teammates returned negative tests and have been cleared to race, the team added. Yates was a favorite for the overall, sitting 21st in the general classification standings prior to withdrawing ahead of stage 8.
"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.
The 28-year-old tested positive after developing a slight fever on Friday, the team said. A second test confirmed the positive result.
Per Covid-19 safety protocol, each rider at the race has been assigned his own hotel room. Yates was isolated in his room during the process and has been transported by ambulance to begin his period of quarantine, the team added.
"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's positive raises inevitable questions about how he caught the virus and whether he passed it on to others. The scare follows a largely successful Tour de France, which was moved from its traditional slot to September because of the coronavirus but passed off with few cases. As well as four non-riding team members, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme was forced to leave the race to quarantine for a week after he also tested positive.
Yates was trailing Maglia Rosa leader, Joāo Almeida of Deceuninck – Quick Step by 3:52 following the finish of the seventh stage to Brindisi. Yates had placed third at the Tour of Poland and made history becoming the first Briton to win Tirreno Adriatico in his lead up to the Giro d’Italia start in Sicily.