It is unclear if Hayter’s case emerged during the Vuelta a España rest day screening of the race bubble or in a separate team test. A total of 11 riders have now been forced to quit the Vuelta a España due to COVID-19 cases.
Hayter had worn the best young rider’s white jersey early in Vuelta a España after Ineos Grenadiers had finished second to Jumbo-Visma in the opening team time trial. The 23-year-old was making his Grand Tour debut at the race.
Hayter turned professional with the British squad in 2020 and has gone on to score 16 wins. This year he’s enjoyed his best season yet, scoring six victories including a breakthrough at WorldTour level with two stages at the Tour de Romandie and the overall title at the Tour de Pologne.
He recently signed a contract extension until the end of 2024, with his younger brother Leo also joining the team for 2023.
Hayter hoped to target the time trial stage and sprint stages but his Vuelta a España ended after 9 stages.
“A big shame to have to leave the team La Vuelta just as things were getting going after a positive Covid test fortunately still feeling good and hoping to stay that way. Good luck to the rest of the Ineos Grenadiers here” he wrote on Instagram.
Hayter is the 11th rider to leave the race following a positive COVID-19 test. He joins Daan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo), Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Andrea Vendrame, Jaakko Hänninen (AG2R Citroën), Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic), Nikias Arndt, Mark Donovan (Team DSM), Pieter Serry (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar), and Jarrad Drizners (Lotto Soudal) in withdrawing.
160 riders will take the start of the stage 10 time trial from Elche to Alicantee, with Norsgaard and Drizners leaving on the rest day as well as ill Jumbo-Visma rider Edoardo Affini.
In line with team and UCI protocols @ethan_hayter has this morning withdrawn from the Vuelta a España after returning a positive lateral flow test. pic.twitter.com/srSTtiX4K1August 30, 2022