Dane Morkov cleared to race in Berlin after coronavirus scare


BERLIN (Reuters) – Denmark’s Michael Morkov was finally cleared to compete at the track world championships on Saturday after being confined to his hotel room for 34 hours over fears of a coronavirus outbreak.

Morkov arrived in Berlin on Thursday from the UAE Tour where the last two stages were scrapped after two Italian team members were suspected of testing positive for the virus.

The entire peloton, including four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and many of the world’s top riders, were put isolated in their hotel for tests, but UAE Tour organizers said on Saturday that 167 tests had come back negative

Morkov had been waiting on the results of those tests before being allowed to cease self-isolation.

He is due to ride in Sunday’s madison.

Cycling’s governing body the UCI issued a statement saying it was satisfied that Morkov was not a risk.

“The person who has been in the United Arab Emirates for the past few days and who is currently in Berlin, has been subject to preventive quota measures, despite the absence of any clinical sign suggesting Covid-19,” it said.

“The rider present in Berlin is currently in excellent health, with no suspicious clinical signs, and we are also guaranteed that he has not contacted the two members of the management of a team participating in the UAE Tour, originally suspected of coronavirus.

“Based on these elements, the UCI and the Organising Committee have judged that the person who has been the subject of prophylactic measures is not at risk. He is therefore free in his movements and activities, including within the velodrome.”

Denmark’s national champion Morkov has been training alone on rollers and said he was looking forward to racing.

“I feel really good, I don’t believe it will affect my race tomorrow, only in a positive way maybe because I’m more motivated for a good race than I was before,” he said.

“I think the UCI handled it really well, they took their precautions, they have been waiting for results from Abu Dhabi.”

He admitted he had been concerned that he could have spread coronavirus to his team, having celebrated with the team pursuit champions on Thursday, before news broke of the lockdown in UAE.

“Yes absolutely, that was my first thought when I heard,” he said. “I went to the velodrome watching the guys break the world record in the team pursuit, there were no coronavirus rumors.

“Then I’m coming back to the hotel and we hear this rumor. I realized that I could be a potential carrier of the virus and obviously I was thinking about us hugging a hundred times over there. I was feeling really guilty that I might have brought this virus to other people and team mates.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Alexander Smith