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Final two stages of UAE Tour cancelled due to coronovirus threat

Israel Start-Up Nation reports two cases in Abu Dhabi team hotel

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.

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:

CCC confirmed the testing.

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.”

Competitions ranging from March’s Milan-San Remo and May’s Giro d’Italia to July and August’s Tokyo Summer Olympic Games are under threat of cancellation due to the coronavirus.

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.