More virus cases linked to UAE Tour as riders face isolation

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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.

Primoz Roglic triumphs at Tirreno-Adriatico for winning return from injury

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Primož Roglič made a winning return to cycling as he triumphed at the week-long Tirreno-Adriatico for a fourth Slovenian victory in five editions at “The Race of the Two Seas.”

It was Roglič’s first race of the season after the Jumbo-Visma rider underwent shoulder surgery last year.

“It’s just nice to come back to racing this way. I really enjoyed the whole week,” Roglič said. “My teammates were super strong.

“One week ago I was just expecting to suffer. It’s even better to win when it’s unexpected. It feels good ahead of the Giro d’Italia too.”

After winning the previous three stages to build up a significant advantage, Roglič protected his lead and finished safely in the peloton during Stage 7 to end the week-long race 18 seconds ahead of João Almeida of Portugal and 23 seconds ahead of British cyclist Tao Geoghegan Hart.

Roglič won the Tirreno in 2019. Fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar won the two previous editions but the two-time defending champion was competing at the Paris-Nice race which he won.

Belgian cyclist Jasper Philipsen won a bunch sprint to take the stage win. The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider edged out Dylan Groenewegen and Alberto Dainese.

It was Philipsen’s second sprint victory at this year’s Tirreno, setting him up as one of the favorites for next weekend’s Milan-San Remo race.

“I was dying in the end, my legs felt really painful, but I’m happy that I could keep it to the finish,” Philipsen said.

“The sprint stage is always different from a classic like San Remo but of course we have some confidence. We have a strong team I think. So now it’s good to take some time off, recover a little bit and try to be on top level.”

There was an early breakaway in the 154-kilometer (96-mile) route that started and finished in San Benedetto del Tronto but the eight riders were caught with just over 3 kilometers (2 miles) remaining.

Pogacar tops Gaudu, Vingegaard to win Paris-Nice


NICE, France — An impressive Tadej Pogacar clinched the final stage with a solo escape to win the week-long Paris-Nice.

David Gaudu finished second overall, 53 seconds behind Pogacar, while Jonas Vingegaard was third at 1 minute, 39 seconds back.

Pogacar attacked during the climb of Col d’Eze with 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) to go, finishing the eighth stage 33 seconds ahead of a small group made up of Vingegaard, Gaudu, Simon Yates and Matteo Jorgenson.

The Slovenian rider completed the 118-kilometer trek around Nice in 2 hours, 51 minutes, 2 seconds, crossing the finish line with both arms raised before taking a bow in front of the crowd and clapping his hands.

Pogacar now has a slight mental edge over Vingegaard, also outclassing him last October to win the Tour of Lombardy.

The duel between Pogacar and Vingegaard has become one of the biggest rivalries in cycling. Vingegaard finished second behind Pogacar in the 2021 Tour de France. But the Danish rider managed to beat Pogacar in the 2022 Tour de France for his first major title.

Vingegaard still has time to hit peak form. The Tour de France starts July 1.

Pogacar is the current leader in the UCI men’s road racing world rankings.

Pogacar and Vingegaard both started the season well. Last month in Spain, Pogacar won the Tour of Andalucia while Vingegaard won the O Gran Camino. Pogacar took the yellow jersey by winning the fourth stage. He dumped Vingegaard in the climb of La Loge des Gardes. Only Gaudu could stay on Pogacar’s wheel.

The two-time Tour de France winner extended his overall lead by taking Stage 7, beating Gaudu and Vingegaard in a small sprint atop Col de la Couillole.

French rider Gaudu finished fourth overall in the 2022 Tour de France but failed to finish in the past two editions of Paris-Nice.

The next race on the UCI World Tour is the Milan-San Remo classic on March 18.