Vuelta a España: All riders clear pre-race COVID controls

One staffer each from Bahrain-McLaren and Sunweb test positive in pre-race screenings ahead of the Vuelta a Espanã.

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It’s all clear for the Vuelta a España peloton.

No riders tested positive for COVID-19 in pre-race screenings, race officials confirmed Monday. Two staffers — one each from Bahrain-McLaren and Sunweb — have been isolated according to health protocols after returning positive controls.

The entire Vuelta entourage, which included riders and staffers from the 22 starting teams, underwent PCR controls Sunday as outlined in health protocols for the Spanish grand tour, which runs Tuesday through November 8.

Officials said 498 tests were carried in accordance with health protocols outlined by the UCI and in conjunction with Spanish health authorities.

The 2020 Vuelta starts against a backdrop of worsening health conditions across Spain, with the number of cases spiking to pre-lockdown conditions during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic quarantine. Several cities have travel restrictions, including parts of Madrid, and bars and restaurants have been closed in Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city.

Vuelta officials confirmed Monday that they would follow the lead of the Tour de France and impose strict rules about COVID infections. If two riders test positive within one week, the entire team will be removed from the race, officials said Monday.

Race officials have rolled out what they’re calling the strictest health controls of any race so far in 2020. Mountain passes and select starts and finishes will be contested without fan access, and the race’s publicity caravan and expo area have also been canceled.

Vuelta officials are urging racing fans to “stay home” as part of a nationwide advertising campaign to try to assure safe conditions for the 2020 season’s final race.

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