(Reuters) – BORA-Hansgrohe were excluded from the Gent-Wevelgem race on Sunday after 17 team members were deemed to be close contacts of Britain’s Matthew Walls, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Walls’ positive result prompted the German team to be withdrawn from the Belgian E3 Saxo Bank Classic on Friday.
BORA-Hansgrohe said in a statement https://www.bora-hansgrohe.com/en/news/argonnews202103gent-covid/argonnews202103gent-covid/518888691 that a “seven-day quarantine on two-thirds of the team” had been imposed by the race doctor of the Belgian E3 Saxo Bank Classic after Walls’ result.
“I am very disappointed and angry,” team manager Ralph Denk said. “Who was selected and the reasons are completely unclear, and it seems rather arbitrary. We tried everything last night, but the doctor didn’t even answer us anymore.”
Tomas Van Den Spiegel, CEO of the Flanders Classic, which organizes the Gent-Wevelgem race, said they were not in a position to overrule the doctor’s decision. “It is also not up to an organizer like ourselves to judge whether the quarantine is fair or not,” he said on Twitter.
Earlier, the Trek-Segafredo team, including defending champion Mads Pedersen, pulled out of Gent-Wevelgem after positive COVID-19 cases within the squad. (Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)