On Thursday morning, Bahrain Victorious announced that their Colombian climber Santiago Buitrago had tested positive for the virus after showing mild symptoms.
The 22-year-old is the second rider from the team to leave the race due to COVID-19 after Wout Poels did so before stage 9. However, his team confirmed that there were no further positives among their riders or staff on Thursday.
“Santiago Buitrago will not start stage 12 of La Vuelta due to a positive COVID-19 test with mild symptoms,” said Bahrain Victorious. “All other riders and staff have returned negative tests. The team will start the race today with six riders. Get well soon Santi!”
Shortly after Bahrain’s statement, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert announced that their Dutch sprinter Boy van Poppel would also be leaving the race after testing positive. He had finished 10th on Wednesday’s flat sprint stage. The team’s climber Jan Hirt had left the race ahead of stage 6 after testing positive.
“Boy van Poppel, who was asymptomatic, tested positive for COVID-19 and will not appear at the start of stage 12 of La Vuelta,” said Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert.
The Vuelta a España has now seen 23 riders leave the race after testing positive for COVID-19, more than the totals from the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France put together.
Stage 11 started with five fewer riders than had finished the previous day’s time trial thanks to the virus. Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) were forced to abandon from top 10 GC positions, while Equipo Kern Pharma lost three riders to positive tests – Roger Adrià, Héctor Carretero, and Pau Miquel.
On Wednesday, race director Javier Guillén said that there was “no general state of concern” at the race following the uptick in positive cases.
“There isn’t any kind of medical situation going on,” he said. “I’m no doctor, no matter what I think, I’m the director of the Vuelta a España and the COVID cases are occurring.
“I stick to medical criteria, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but what I do know or understand is that there is no general state of concern.
“There are lots of asymptomatic cases and very light ones,” he added, noting that teams have generally been testing more than is required by the UCI Grand Tour protocols. “We know the teams are testing a lot and that’s what producing the positives. We hope that the situation will get better.”
Check below for the full list of COVID-19 abandons at the Vuelta a España.
The full list of COVID-19 abandons at the Vuelta
- Dan Hoole (Trek-Segafredo)
- Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)
- Jaakko Hänninen (AG2R Citroën)
- Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën)
- Mark Donovan (Team DSM)
- Victor Langellotti (Burgos-BH)
- Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic)
- Pieter Serry (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl)
- Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious)
- Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers)
- Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma)
- José Herrada (Cofidis)
- Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal)
- Jarrid Drizners (Lotto Soudal)
- Mathias Norsgaard (Movistar)
- Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)
- Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco)
- Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers)
- Pau Miquel (Kern Pharma)
- Roger Adria (Kern Pharma)
- Hector Carretero (Kern Pharma)
- Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious)
- Boy van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert)