Coronavirus: Tour de France legend Chris Froome being tested for Covid-19

27 February 2020, 22:13

Chris Froome is being tested for coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates
Chris Froome is being tested for coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Quadruple Tour de France champion Chris Froome is being tested for the coronavirus after the UAE Tour was cancelled amid health fears on Thursday.

Star sprinter Mark Cavendish will also be tested after the race was cancelled after two race workers were taken ill.

The final two stages of the race were due to take place on Friday and Saturday, but all riders and staff were confined to their rooms at the Crowne Royal Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island.

Froome, who was using the race to make his long-awaited comeback from the career-threatening injuries he suffered last June, posted on Twitter that he was awaiting a test for the virus.

"It's a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first," the Team Ineos rider wrote.

"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"

Mark Cavendish will also be tested
Mark Cavendish will also be tested. Picture: PA
Chris Froome confirmed the news on Twitter
Chris Froome confirmed the news on Twitter. Picture: PA

Organisers are yet to make a formal announcement, but a number of teams confirmed the race had been cancelled.

A tweet from the Jumbo-Visma team said: "We have taken note of the cancellation of the UAE Tour due to the occurrence of the coronavirus.

"We wish all the people involved the very best, awaiting further developments."

Riders and staff stay at the throughout the seven-stage race, which began on Sunday.

Britain's Adam Yates, riding for Mitchelton-Scott, was in the leader's red jersey following Thursday's stage five to Jebel Hafeet.

Football has also been affected by the ongoing infections.

Five Serie A matches will be played behind closed doors this weekend in an attempt to contain the spread.

The decision was confirmed on Thursday and while no fixtures will be postponed, Saturday's game between Udinese and Fiorentina will be played in front of an empty stadium.

A day later, matches between AC Milan-Genoa, Parma-SPAL, Sassuolo-Brescia and Juventus-Inter will all take place behind closed doors.

Leaders Juventus are only a point ahead of second-placed Lazio, while a further spot back are Inter, who are six points off top spot but with a game in hand.

The fixture would have seen Antonio Conte return to his former club, although no fans will now be present.

And with Rugby, Six Nations chiefs are set to gather in Paris for talks over the spread of the coronavirus, with Ireland's match against Italy in Dublin on March 7 already postponed.

Representatives from the home unions plus France and Italy will be present for the pre-scheduled World Rugby meeting that will now also include discussions over what additional action should be taken in response to the outbreak.

England's trip to Rome on March 14 is now in grave doubt due to the virus' stranglehold in northern Italy, which has become a major centre of infection with 11 towns in lockdown.