Israel – Premier Tech team management have made the difficult decision to withdraw the team from Ronde van Vlaanderen this Sunday for medical reasons.

The team in Belgium has been impacted by illness and injury and yesterday, a second covid case was confirmed. The rider and staff group currently in Belgium are now all considered close contacts. With the team also racing in Spain this weekend, and many other riders currently sidelined with injury or illness, the team is unable to field a healthy roster at this late notice.

Israel – Premier Tech General Manager Kjell Carlström said the decision to withdraw has been made in the best interests of the team and the wider peloton.

“This is a very regrettable situation and we are extremely disappointed to have to withdraw from Ronde van Vlaanderen. This decision has not been taken lightly but we feel this is our only option at this stage. It is no secret we have had covid and other illness and also crash-induced injuries wiping out the majority of our riders at one stage or another in recent weeks. Right now, we have very few healthy riders who could take to the start line, but they are now close contacts, and it is out of respect for the race and the rest of the peloton, that we are making this decision. It is our duty of care to the other teams to not be willingly sending riders who have been exposed to covid into a race.

“By withdrawing from the race, we are allowing our cobbled classics riders to recover and hit the reset button. No one is more disappointed than us but hopefully, this decision will allow us to save the remainder of the spring season and get back on track.”

Israel – Premier Tech would like to extend its gratitude to the UCI and Flanders Classics for their understanding and cooperation. The team will also be withdrawing from next Wednesday’s Scheldeprijs.