Giro d'Italia contender Simon Yates tests positive for coronavirus and withdraws

GIOVINAZZO, Italy -- Overall contender Simon Yates has withdrawn from the Giro d'Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, his Mitchelton-Scott team announced before Saturday's eighth stage.

Mitchelton-Scott said the British rider "developed very mild symptoms" after Friday's Stage 7 and the team "immediately requested a rapid test that indicated a positive result. A second, RT-PCR, test was later taken, which has confirmed the positive result."

Yates "was isolated in his single room during the process and is being safely transported by organized ambulance for a period of quarantine where the team can offer its best possible care. His symptoms remain very mild," the team added.

Yates won the Tirreno-Adriatico warmup race last month. He was in 21st place overall, 3 minutes, 52 seconds behind race leader Joao Almeida.

Yates unexpectedly lost significant time in the climb up Mount Etna during Stage 3 on Monday.

Yates' withdrawal deprives the race of another contender after Geraint Thomas withdrew after breaking his pelvis in a fall during Stage 3.

Italy recorded one of its highest single-day totals of COVID-19 infections since the start of the outbreak on Friday, adding 5,372 cases.

The Health Ministry said Friday that northern Lombardy, the onetime European epicenter of the pandemic, added the most new cases at 983.

The race ends Oct. 25 in Milan -- the capital of Lombardy.