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According to his BikeExchange-Jayco team, Yates began showing symptoms of a COVID-19 infection following the stage 10 time trial. A test Wednesday morning confirmed that he had the virus.
Though many riders have already left due to catching coronavirus, Yates is the first major GC contender to be forced out of the race because of it.
“During the night our rider Simon Yates had some COVID-19 symptoms with a light fever and body aches,” stated his team. “We carried out a COVID-19 test this morning and unfortunately, he has returned a positive test result, and will therefore not be taking to the start line of today’s 11th stage, with rider health and wellbeing our priority.”
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At this time, no other riders or staff have tested positive for coronavirus, but the team is continuing to test.
Yates was sitting in fifth place overall at 4:50 behind the current race leader Remco Evenepoel after a strong time trial performance saw him climb one place in the overall standings.
This is not the first time Yates has been forced out of a grand tour after catching COVID-19. The Brit had to leave the 2020 Giro d’Italia in the opening week after becoming infected with the virus.
The 2022 Vuelta a España has been hit particularly hard by coronavirus infections with a total of 16 riders leaving the race following positive tests since the race began.
There was a run of positive COVID tests over the rest day with Ethan Hayter and Sam Bennett among the list of riders forced to leave the race. With nearly two weeks of the race still to go, organizers will be concerned that the rush of cases will continue.
This year saw nearly 20 riders leave the Tour de France due to COVID infections.
Simon Yates withdraws from La Vuelta a España after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of stage 11.https://t.co/AlDD1idKM2
— Team BikeExchange-Jayco (@GreenEDGEteam) August 31, 2022