Cycling: CCC-Liv team pulls out of Spain races, citing COVID-19 concerns

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(Reuters) – Polish-backed women’s World Tour cycling team CCC-Liv have pulled out of this week’s resumption of racing because of concerns about health risks, the team said on Thursday.

Women’s racing is returning from a five-month pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with two one-day events in Spain, the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa and Clasica Femenina Navarra.

However, CCC-Liv has pulled its riders out at short notice.

“We have set ourselves a very strict health protocol in recent months to minimise the risks of contamination with COVID-19,” team manager Eric van den Boom said in a statement.

“We were delighted to finally be able to race again; however on Wednesday, it turned out that the health risks in the Navarra region are too great.”

While all the races must meet strict health protocols put in place by the world governing body the UCI, Van den Boom said some riders might not have had sufficient testing for the virus.

“We’ve followed all protocols and know from the daily health monitoring of riders and staff that none of us are infected with COVID-19,” he said.

“Should we enter, we will come into contact with riders who, as it turns out, might not have undergone the mandatory RT-PCR test. In addition, the number of infections at the location of the races has considerably increased in two days.”

He said the team’s riders would remain together in the protected ‘team bubble’ and planned to start in the Durango-Durango, also in Spain, on Sunday.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

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