Team Jumbo-Visma have become the second team to withdraw from the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday as the race is thrown into disarray.
Following the rest day Covid-19 tests, Australian team Mitchelton-Scott were forced to withdraw having already lost Simon Yates earlier in the race.
As part of the tests Jumbo rider Steven Kruijswijk returned a positive test and had to withdraw, but it was later confirmed the entire team would not start Stage 10.
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"It is very disappointing, because we have done everything we can to prevent contamination," said Jumbo-Visma managing director Richard Plugge.
"The team was doing well and on their way to a good result. However, everyone’s health is the most important and that’s why we’ve taken this decision."
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Sports director Addy Engels added: "It’s a big thing to withdraw from a race and especially in a race like the Giro d’Italia.
"But we’ve also taken this decision in the interest of the race. This is the safest decision we can make. Not only for our team, but also for other teams."
It remains to be seen what this means for the rest of the race.
Geraint Thomas, who saw his own Giro dream explode earlier in the week, tweeted a particularly appropriate meme.
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Speaking on The Breakaway over the weekend after Yates' withdrawal, Eurosport expert Orla Chennaoui raised concerns about the situation with the Giro.
“We all got onto a bit of a roll here and thought 'this is it, we're off and running, here we go', but the dominoes are starting to fall,” Chennaoui said.
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"Riders from other races, of course, are testing positive. Jan Bakelants of Circus-Wanty Gobert has tested positive; he is now out of Gent Wevelgem because of that. Tiesj Benoot of Team Sunweb, who was on a talk show with Bakelants during the week in Belgium has also been taken off the race by his team, Team Sunweb as a precaution more than anything else.
"But you can see that it's impossible, as we knew anyway, to contain this virus. It is spreading from one race to another, one team to another, one country to another and we just have to really wait and see what racing we've got to come. It's a very uncertain time in cycling, as we knew it would be."
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