La Fleche Wallonne: Julian Alaphilippe wins as Tom Pidcock sixth

Cycling
Tom Pidcock

UAE-Team Emirates have been prevented from racing in Wednesday’s La Fleche Wallonne after two team members tested positive for coronavirus, despite the team’s vaccination programme.

Italian Diego Ulissi and a staff member tested positive on Tuesday but have since provided three negative tests.

The staff member had been vaccinated in January after a UAE-based “collective” inoculation programme was offered.

“The team is frustrated but accepts the final decision,” said a statement.

“Since the original ‘positive’ test, both members have undergone three separate tests each. All the results from these subsequent tests returned negative results and neither displays any symptoms.”

Ulissi missed his team’s vaccination programme in January because he was not at the training camp.

Among the UAE-Team Emirates riders missing the race are Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar. The 22-year-old was among the favourites for the 194km one-day ‘semi-classic’ race in Belgium which finishes atop the famed Mur de Huy.

Ineos Grenadiers’ in-form classics rider Tom Pidcock is racing after missing out on victory in Sunday’s Amstel Gold race by 0.004 seconds to Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert.

In a star-studded Ineos line-up, he is supported by Adam Yates and Tao Geoghegan Hart.

The Netherlands’ Anna van der Breggen of SD Worx earlier won the women’s La Fleche Wallonne for the seventh time in a row in her illustrious career.

Meanwhile, Yates’ twin brother Simon remains in the overall leader’s green jersey at the Tour of the Alps after Ineos’ Gianni Moscon won stage three.

The 27-year-old Italian took his second stage win of the race after Simon Yates won Tuesday’s stage.

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