Alé BTC Ljubljana withdraw from Gent-Wevelgem after COVID-positive result in team

Tiesj Benoot and Jan Bakelants pulled from men's race after Bakelants tests positive and was known to have recently been in close contact with Benoot.

Photo: Brabantse Pijl

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Alé BTC Ljubljana will not race Women’s Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday after one of the team returned a positive COVID result.  The team confirmed the news Saturday. Marta Bastianelli was set to line up as one of the hot favorites for the opening cobbled classic of the season.

“Riders and staff in the team bubble underwent a double test before the Gent-Wevelgem and, although the team complied with all the protocols and the expected safety bubble, the laboratory that carried out the tests today informed us of the presence of positivity,” stated the team. “For this reason, we immediately implemented the protocol dictated by the Union Cycliste Internationale and, also according to the laws in force in Belgium, the whole team has entered into quarantine. In agreement with the technical staff, we have decided not to take part in the race scheduled for tomorrow in Belgium.”

The men’s race has also been impacted by the pandemic, with Sunweb powerhouse Tiesj Benoot being pulled from the race. The Belgian has recently had contact with Circus-Wanty Gobert rider Jan Bakelants, who tested positive Friday. The pair appeared together on Sporza’s Extra Time Koers on Wednesday.

“Tiesj is currently symptom-free, feeling well and will go into quarantine before having PCR tests next week,” Sunweb stated Saturday.

Bakelants was also slated to be racing Gent-Wevelgem, but has been quarantined. The remaining riders from Sunweb and  Circus-Wanty are clear to race Sunday.

The news comes the same day that GC star Simon Yates withdrew from the Giro d’Italia after testing positive for COVID on Friday night.

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