More virus cases linked to UAE Tour as riders face isolation

AP Photo

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Six more people with links to the canceled UAE Tour cycling race have been infected with the virus spreading around the world.

The Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates said in a statement that two Russians, two Italians, one German and one Colombian have been diagnosed with the virus. They were all linked to two previous cases involving Italians, it said.

Rider Igor Boev of the Gazprom-RusVelo team told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that he was in the hospital after being diagnosed. Boev said he was waiting for more test results and said the hospital food was “more than fine for a normal person but not enough for a pro rider.”

Riders from other teams are staying in isolation in case they develop symptoms. Arnaud Demare of Groupama-FDJ posted a video of makeshift fitness routines in his hotel room and eating food delivered in a paper bag.

Cofidis team president Thierry Vittu said Wednesday he was told to stay in quarantine until March 14. He said it was a relief to have a deadline for when riders and staff could leave, even if it’s still some time away.

“Now we know where we stand, and even if the confinement in the room continues, everyone will manage to find occupations, distractions, activities,” he said on the team website. “We are going to stay in solidarity with each other, conscious that we are living a collective adventure, that we would have liked not to live, but which will teach us about ourselves and others. We already tell ourselves that in a few months, we will be laughing about it among ourselves.”

The last two stages of the UAE Tour were canceled on Feb. 28 after two virus cases among team staff members. British rider Adam Yates was declared the winner because he was leading after the first five stages.

In Italy, soccer officials said the second leg of the Italian Cup semifinals between Napoli and Inter Milan scheduled for Thursday in Naples has been postponed indefinitely.

The other semifinal match, Juventus-AC Milan, scheduled for Wednesday had already been postponed.

Ten Serie A matches scheduled over the past two weekends have also been postponed.

German soccer club Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday canceled a preseason tour of Asia because of the virus outbreak, while some fans have been asked not to attend a Bundesliga game this weekend.

Dortmund apologized to fans in Asia, saying that the planned tour of China and other countries couldn’t go ahead because it is “not possible to make safe travel arrangements.”

Dortmund is to play at title challenger Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday. That is the closest Bundesliga team to the area of Heinsberg, where a cluster of virus cases have been reported.

Following talks with regional government officials, Gladbach said the game would go ahead but asked fans from Heinsberg not to attend. They will be offered a refund and a free ticket to a European home game next season.

Davide Rebellin dies after hit by truck while training

Getty Images

MILAN — Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin, one of the sport’s longest-serving professionals, died after being struck by a truck while training. He was 51.

Rebellin was riding near the town of Montebello Vicentino in northern Italy when he was hit by a truck near a motorway junction. The vehicle did not stop, although Italian media reported that the driver may have been unaware of the collision.

Local police are working to reconstruct the incident and find the driver.

Rebellin had only retired from professional cycling last month, bringing to an end a career that had spanned 30 years. He last competed for Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek and the UCI Continental team posted a tribute on its social media accounts.

“Dear Davide, keep pedaling, with the same smile, the same enthusiasm and the same passion as always,” the Italian team said. “This is not how we imagined the future together and it is not fair to have to surrender so suddenly to your tragic absence.”

“To your family, your loved ones, your friends and all the enthusiasts who, like us, are crying for you right now, we just want to say that we imagine you on a bicycle, looking for new roads, new climbs and new challenges even up there, in the sky.”

Rebellin’s successes included victories at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico as well as winning a stage in the 1996 edition of the Giro d’Italia, which he also led for six stages.

Rebellin won silver in the road race at the 2008 Olympic Games, but he was later stripped of his medal and banned for two years after a positive doping test. He had denied wrongdoing.

CAS upholds Nairo Quintana DQ from Tour de France for opioid use

Getty Images

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The disqualification of two-time Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana from his sixth place in the 2022 race for misuse of an opioid was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAS said its judges dismissed Quintana’s appeal and agreed with the International Cycling Union that the case was a medical matter rather than a doping rules violation. He will not be banned.

The court said the judges ruled “the UCI’s in-competition ban on tramadol was for medical rather than doping reasons and was therefore within the UCI’s power and jurisdiction.”

Traces of the synthetic painkiller tramadol were found in two dried blood spot samples taken from the Colombian racer five days apart in July, the UCI previously said.

Quintana’s case is among the first to rely on the dried blood spot (DBS) method of collecting samples which the World Anti-Doping Agency approved last year.

Tramadol was banned in 2019 from use at cycling races because of potential side effects. They include the risk of addiction, dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention.

Quintana finished second in the Tour de France in 2013 and 2015, won both times by Chris Froome. He won the 2014 Giro d’Italia.