Vuelta traffic officers hit by COVID-19 outbreak

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MADRID (Reuters) - A total of 46 members of Spain's civil guard have tested positive for COVID-19 after working on traffic control at the Vuelta a Espana cycling race, a source confirmed on Tuesday.

The rescheduled race, which concluded on Sunday in Madrid, took place under strict conditions to prevent riders and spectators from infections and its safety measures were praised by competitors.

The civil guard source said the officers, who had mild symptoms or none at all, were isolating in their residences.

But union Jucil criticised the organisation after 150 officers were allowed to travel across the country back to their homes before learning the results of the test, and called on the interior ministry to ensure the protocol was enforced.

The Vuelta, the final grand tour of the year, was shortened from its usual 21 stages to 18 and its start date switched from August due to the pandemic disrupting the cycling calendar.

The route, which was set to pass through the Netherlands and France, also had to be changed. Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic won the race for a second year in row.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)