Sam Bennett's hopes of winning the green jersey at the Vuelta Espana have been dashed after he was forced to withdraw from the race ahead of the stage 10 time-trial due to Covid-19.
The Carrick-on-Suir man, who had sprinted to two stage victories already in the race and lay in second place in the points classification, becomes the 12th rider forced out of the Vuelta due to the virus.
"Sam returned a positive antigen test this morning, and also showed some symptoms. Therefore we decided that he wouldn’t start today’s stage," a Bora-Hansgrohe statement read this afternoon.
His compatriot and team-mate Ryan Mullen confirmed Bennett’s exit ahead of the 30.9km time trial from Elche to Alicante.
"It's a massive shame and Sam is going to be disappointed. He deserves to be here, he's put the work in, and he showed that he's back to his best," he said.
The winner of the 2020 Tour de France green jersey sat just five points off classification leader Mads Pedersen of Trek-Segafredo having held the jersey until stage eight.
Belgian Remco Evenepoel won the time trial with a superb time of 33 minutes and 18 seconds to strengthen his grip on the red jersey.
The 22-year-old team rider was a staggering 48 seconds faster than reigning champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) who came second ahead of Evenepoel's Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team mate Remi Cavagna who was a minute slower than the winner.
Victory meant Evenepoel also became the first Belgian rider to win an individual time trial stage of La Vuelta since Fons De Wolf in Valladolid in 1979.
Evenepoel leads Roglic by 2:41 in the general classification with Enric Mas (Movistar) third overall at 3:03.
Stage 11 is a 191.2km ride from Alhama de Murcia to Cabo de Gata on Wednesday.