The two remaining stages of the 2020 Tour of UAE were officially cancelled on Thursday night after two Italian staff members on one of the participating teams tested positive for the novel coronavirus - or COVID-19 to give the disease its official name.
News of the cancellation had already been broken on social media by a number of riders including Chris Froome.
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
— Larry Warbasse (@larrywarbasse) February 27, 2020
According to other reports on social media, teams and team staff were being tested for the virus in their hotels.
Teams and team staff are being tested now in their hotel. I’m in a different hotel with media and event staff and we’ll be tested later today (it’s 3.30am Friday here). We’re currently not allowed to leave the hotel. #coronavirus #COVID19 #UAETour
— Sophie Smith (@SophieSmith86) February 27, 2020
In their announcement the UAE Tour organisers said: "The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the Race's participants," adding that, "safety comes at the top of all priorities."
In the meantime, the Ministry of Health and Prevention said that all the race's participants, administrative staff and organisers will be examined through the continuous periodic screening being conducted, and that all needed procedures, including quarantine measures, will be taken to ensure viral suppression and to curb the spread of the outbreak in coordination with all health and other authorities concerned in the country.
The ministry added that all the necessary precautions to ensure highly efficient preventive measures are being taken, including check-ups and observation of people in contact with patients, to guarantee the protection of the society and its safety and preserve public trust.
On Friday morning, race organisers confirmed that the final results of the race are those obtained after Stage 5. This means that Adam Yates topped the general classification after taking time on Stage 3's summit finish. The cancellation will mean that road.cc's Fantasy Cycling game will be finalised after stage 5 as well.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.