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Canadian rider discusses coronavirus-related lockdown for UAE Tour teams

Israel Start-Up Nation's Alex Cataford on the mood in Abu Dhabi

Ottawa native Alex Cataford, the solo Canadian at the UAE Tour, is on lockdown in the team’s Abu Dhabi hotel. On Thursday, the event, which was supposed to run for seven stages, was cancelled after the fifth stage because two Italian staff members on one of the teams tested positive for COVID-19.

“They’ve taken some preliminary tests of everyone and should get back to us later this evening or tomorrow,” Cataford said Friday evening in Abu Dhabi. “Then they will make the decision if we head home as normally on Sunday or not.”

Cataford felt the media attention on the lockdown and testing might make the events seem more dramatic than they actually are.

Friday evening, Cataford and his Israel Start-Up Nation team were feeling some effects from the confinement. “We are all a bit bored after being stuck in the hotel all day,” he said. “But overall mood is fine and we are all confident the right decision will be made soon.”

The day of the UAE Tour cancellation, Italy had reported 650 cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths. The region hardest hit is Lombardy with some towns under quarantine. In UAE, health authorities
put up thermal detectors at ports as precaution.