Australia’s Caleb Ewan is among the cyclists to be tested for the coronavirus after the UAE Tour was cancelled Thursday due to two Italian riders testing positive.
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council did not name the riders concerned but said all the race participants, staff and organisers were being screened for the flu-like virus.
Ewan, who finished second in stage one of the race, is competing with several other Australians including William Clarke, Kaden Groves, Rob Power, Jai Hindley and Michael Hepburn in the seven-stage race.
“The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the race’s participants,” the Council said in a statement, adding “safety comes at the top of all priorities.”
Several riders had earlier used social media to confirm they were being tested and that the event had been cancelled.
“It’s a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first,” four-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome said.
“We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren’t any further cases #coronavirus.”
Several teams commented on the premature end of the UCI World Tour race, which started on Sunday and had two stages remaining.
“We have taken note of the cancellation of the UAE Tour due to the occurrence of the coronavirus,” the Dutch Jumbo-Visma team said on their Twitter feed.
“We wish all the people involved the very best, awaiting further developments.”
The Italian Vini Zabu-KTM team said on Twitter: “In the hotel the local authorities are testing all the riders and the staff members #Coronavirus.”
Media reports said the official race hotel in Abu Dhabi was sealed off late on Thursday.
A report in Cycling News said riders, staff and journalists were not allowed to leave pending health checks.
Adam Yates was leading the race for Australian team Mitchelton-Scott when the event was cancelled.