Australian Luke Durbridge is out of the Tour de France after testing positive for COVID-19.
A member of Australian team Bike Exchange-Jayco, he is the fourth rider to leave the race with a positive COVID-19 test since the start on July 1.
“Unfortunately Luke Durbridge has tested positive for COVID-19 this morning. Durbridge has very mild symptoms & will not start today’s stage 10,” the team said in a statement on Tuesday morning.
All riders had been tested on Sunday night and all tests had returned negative.
🇦🇺 Luke Durbridge of @GreenEdgeteam is out of the Tour de France after contracting COVID.
— SBS Sport (@SBSSportau) July 12, 2022
Durbridge supported teammate Dylan Groenewegen in his stage three victory and was in 90th position in the overall classification, 52 minutes and 22 seconds behind leader Tadej Pogacar.
Later, New Zealand’s George Bennett became the second team mate of defending champion Pogacar to leave the race after a positive COVID-19 test, his UAE Emirates confirmed.
“On Monday he was tested as per internal protocols of the team and returned a positive result. This was confirmed with a PCR test,” UAE said in a statement.
“Therefore he will not start today,” team doctor Adrian Rotunno said.
On Monday he was tested as per internal protocols of the team and returned a positive result. This was confirmed by a PCR test. pic.twitter.com/HCWDwWfgmD
— @UAE-TeamEmirates (@TeamEmiratesUAE) July 12, 2022
Last Saturday, Vegard Stake Laengen also pulled out with COVID-19, which means that Pogacar’s team are now down to six riders going into a gruelling week in the Alps.
Pogacar leads the overall standings, 39 seconds ahead of Dane Jonas Vingegaard.
Tuesday’s 10th stage is a 148-kilometre mountain trek to Megeve.
Bennett is the fifth rider to leave the race with a positive COVID-19 test since the start on July 1.
Last year, if two members of a team tested positive for COVID the whole outfit would be sent packing, which is not the case in this edition.
Whether a rider who tests positive can stay in the race is decided following a meeting between race, International Cycling Union (UCI) and team doctors, depending on the rider’s viral load.