The 2nd UAE Tour, the third round of the 2020 WorldTour, has been the setting for Chris Froome’s return to the pro peloton, thrilling sprints, and a dingdong GC battle between Adam Yates and Tadej Pogačar, but it will always be remembered for its final two stages being cancelled over coronavirus fears on Thursday.
Late Thursday, word began to circulate online that the race had been called off.
The UAE Tour is very likely to be cancelled, Italian media reports, after all the teams have been isolated in the hotel, where riders will be checked by doctors to see if they present any simptom of illness.
— CafeRoubaix (@CafeRoubaix) February 27, 2020
— Astana Pro Team (@AstanaTeam) February 27, 2020
It’s a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first. We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren’t any further cases #coronavirus
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) February 27, 2020
It wasn’t initially clear what made the race organizers–RCS Sport, which also puts on the Giro d’Italia–believe that the coronavirus endangered the event’s racers, staff, officials and workers, but it seemed likely that there was a suspected case of the virus, also known as COVID-19.
Then Israel Start-Up Nation reported this:
Breaking news ISN : We got an official word that 2 suspected corona virus cases found in the The team’s hotel in Abu Dhabi. #UAETour canceled. We are all going to be checked for the virus in the next few hours.
— Israel Start-Up Nation / Israel Cycling Academy (@YallaIsraelSUN) February 27, 2020
CCC confirmed the testing.
Following a meeting with race organizers, General Manager Piotr Wadecki confirmed that #UAETour has been cancelled due to possible cases of the #coronavirus COVID-19. All riders and staff will be tested. We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. pic.twitter.com/XFlhAiG7uN
— CCC Team (@CCCProTeam) February 27, 2020
Later, a press release from the Abu Dhabi Sports Council declared that “two Italian participants” had tested positive for the virus. RCS clarified that those affected were “two Italian staff members of one of the teams.”
— La Flamme Rouge (@laflammerouge16) February 27, 2020
Surely Adam Yates, who in one of his best performances of the last couple of years led Tadej Pogačar by over a minute with two sprinter’s stages to go, will be given the title. Yates crushed the first showdown on Jebel Hafeet on Tuesday, while the young Slovenian took Thursday’s rematch.