Cesena, Italy (AP) – Giro d’Italia leader and favorite Remco Evenepol was forced to withdraw from the race on Sunday after testing positive for coronavirus.
Shortly before, the Belgian cyclist had won the day’s time trial stage, reclaiming overall leader pink ‘Maglia’.RELATED
However, his Soudal Quickstep team later reported that the world champion had tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of the ninth stage.
“It’s very disappointing to have to withdraw from the race,” Evenepoel said. “As part of the team’s protocol, I underwent routine testing, but unfortunately I tested positive.”
“My experience here has been really special and I was really looking forward to the next two weeks of racing. We will be rooting for them all week.”
The remaining riders and team officials tested negative.
Evenepol also won the time trial on day one and led the Giro until the end of the fourth stage.
The 45-year-old Belgian was 45 seconds ahead of Welshman Geraint Thomas, the new overall leader and rider of the Ineos Grenadiers team. Primoš Roglic, who has been pointed out as Evenepol’s strongest rival, is two seconds behind.
Evenpol, who won last year’s Vuelta a España, has been very unlucky in Italy.
A crash ruled him out of the 2021 Giro, making him the only man to ever compete in the Italian round. This was the first competition for Evenepol, who had fallen from a stone bridge into a ravine the previous year and fell off the side of the bridge, breaking his pelvis.
This also happened with the Tour of Lombardy in Italy.
On Sunday, Evenpol narrowly won the longest of the race’s three individual time trials. He beat Thomas by just one second on the nearly flat 22-mile (35 km) course between Savignano sul Rubicone and Cesena near the Adriatic coast.
“I think we didn’t do very well,” Ebenopole said after the win. “I started too fast and the second half wasn’t so good… Another stage win, but not the best time trial.”
The Giro will have its first rest day on Monday. The race resumes on Tuesday and the tenth stage features two passes, one in the second category and one in the fourth category, covering 196 kilometers starting in Scandiano and ending in Viareggio on the Tuscan coast. .
The Italian round will end on May 28 in Rome.