Hayter quits Vuelta taking Covid tally to 13 withdrawals

cycling30 August 2022 12:07| © AFP
Ethan Hayter © Gallo Images

The Covid cases on the Vuelta continued to mount on Tuesday as Ineos announced it has pulled Ethan Hayter out of the race after a positive test.

"In line with team and UCI protocols Ethan hayter has this morning withdrawn from the Vuelta a Espana after returning a positive lateral flow test," Ineos tweeted.

Hayter was forced out as racing resumes after a rest day with a time-trial, one of his specialities. The 23-year-old Londoner briefly led the young riders category early in the Vuelta.

Thirteen of the 21 retirements since the Vuelta started in Utrecht on August 19 have been linked to a positive test,

The spread of the virus through peloton appears to have accelerated, with ten cases detected between Friday and Tuesday.

On Monday's rest day, Dane Mathias Norsgaard of Movistar and Australian Jarrad Drizners of Lotto-Soudal quit after positive tests.

"The tests are still causing stress in the teams, but you have to get past that. If you feel bad, you're not going to race anyway. I think that should be the rule, not a test," said Australian Ben O'Connor, a climber for the AG2R team which lost Italian Andrea Vendrame and Finn Jaako Hanninen to Covid on Friday.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced on August 9 that it would implement the same health protocol on the Vuelta as on the Tour de France.

The UCI said it "strongly recommends a daily control by antigenic tests of all team members (riders and staff), whether they are vaccinated or not."

In July, 17 riders had to abandon the Tour de France because of Covid-19, including Britons Chris Froome, a four-time winner of the event.