Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar’s Team UAE Emirates announced on Wednesday they had withdrawn from the Fleche Wallonne due to two Covid-19 cases within the team, just hours before the mid-week Ardennes classic began.
The two members of the team concerned, Diego Ulissi and one staff member (who is also vaccinated), returned 2 negative tests in the days before travelling to Belgium.
Upon arrival to Belgium both underwent a subsequent test which returned a positive result.
Since the original ‘positive’ test, both members have undergone 3 separate tests each: 2 antigen and 1 molecular, the press statement read. All the results from these subsequent tests returned negative results and neither displays any symptoms.
The team’s startlist for Fleche Wallone consisted of Rui Costa (Por), Davide Formolo (Ita), Marc Hirschi (Swi), Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor), Tadej Pogačar (Slo), Jan Polanc (Slo) and Diego Ulissi (Ita).
Ulissi retired from the 2020 season early to recover from myocarditis.
Though the team is frustrated by the ruling, we fully accept the final decision of the Belgian authorities.
The team will withdraw from the race and undergo further testing with the aim to start Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday (startlist here).