Mitchelton-Scott DS Matt White spoke to Orla Chennaoui after team leader Simon Yates had to abandon the Giro d’Italia after testing positive for Covid-19, telling Chennaoui that Yates had been monitored for some days before diagnosis and that he was doing well and his symptoms were currently mild.
Ahead of Stage 8 on Saturday, Yates sat in 21st place on GC, three minutes and 52 seconds in arrears to maglia rosa Joao Almeida. However, it was announced on Saturday morning that Yates had developed symptoms after Friday's Stage 7, prompting a test that returned a positive result.
And White told Chennaoui on the Breakaway that Yates had been under supervision since his struggles on Stage 3.
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“His performances during the first week were a bit erratic,” said White.
“[Simon] came in with really good form, so his condition on Mount Etna couldn’t be explained and our doctors have been monitoring him daily and after the stage yesterday he said he felt hot and had a mild temperature, so we contacted the organisation who came to the hotel late last night and tested Simon.
“When Simon tested positive, we then tested the rest of the staff,” added White.
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White said that the team were unable to pinpoint how the 28-year-old contracted the virus but added that the unique nature of three-week racing complicated the bubble system.
“No-one knows how Simon contracted Covid-19,” said White.
“At the end of the day we are in a bubble but the bubble is very diverse due to changing hotels every day. We are doing our best to wear masks and pay big attention to hygiene. And we got tested six days out [from the start of the Giro], three days out, when we arrived and then on rest days but we can’t control everything, like people working at hotels we’re staying at.
It doesn’t take much for somebody to come in contact with someone who’s had Covid-19.
"The main thing is Simon is doing well – he has very, very mild symptoms. No-one else in our team as symptoms or the virus."
The news comes a day after it was revealed that Paris-Roubaix had been cancelled due to cases of Covid-19 rising in northern France. The men's race had already been rescheduled from its usual spring spot in the calendar, with a women's race subsequently announced for the first time by ASO. Both races are scheduled to return in 2021 on 11 April, coronavirus restrictions permitting.
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