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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, March 5, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

You grow up the day you have the first real laugh at yourself. - Ethel Barrymore

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Here's the latest from RCS Sport, the orgainzer of Strade Bianche:

Following the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic of 4 March 2020, RCS Sport announces that the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche scheduled for 8 March is canceled. The details of the new date will be communicated in the future.

Regarding the bike races Strade Bianche (7 March), Strade Bianche Women Elite (7 March), Tirreno-Adriatico (11-17 March), Milano-Sanremo (21 March) and Il Giro di Sicilia (1-4 April), RCS Sport will communicate the updates and details in the coming days, following the meetings with the appropriate authorities, starting from the meeting with the Prefecture of Siena tomorrow morning.

Italy to ban public events to contain coronavirus: Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico & Milano-San Remo probably cancelled

The Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico & Milano San Remo will not be run this month. Below is the flash report from Reuters:

ROME, March 4 (Reuters) - Italy’s government is set to close cinemas and theatres and ban public events across the whole country to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak, according to a draft decree drawn up on Wednesday.

The decree seen by Reuters orders “the suspension of events of any nature... that entail the concentration of people and do not allow for a safety distance of at least one metre (yard) to be respected.”

More Coronavirus racing updates

Yesterday Team EF Pro Cycling asked to be allowed to withdraw from upcoming Italian races.

Also yesterday Tuttobici reported that Mauro Vegni, the man running Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-San Remo was leaning towards running the races.

Mauro Vegni

Mauro Vegni at the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Sirotti photo

He said, "We are on the eve of three great events, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. Our intention, as we have repeatedly stressed in recent days, is to run and give people the spectacle that awaits the great champions.

"But there is no doubt that the news that arrives regarding the coronavirus emergency is clear. The recommendations of the Scientific Committee leave little room for maneuver and if they are adopted by the Government, we would be forced to cancel the three races in question.

And then the director of cycling for RCS Sport added "We intend to work alongside the UCI to find a new place on the calendar for these contests, which we absolutely do not want to miss."

Vegni has since said that if the government cancels the races, he will ask that they be run in June or September.

Jumbo-Visma will not be racing in Italy this weekend

Here's the update the team sent me:

Team Jumbo-Visma will not participate in Strade Bianche and GP Industria, this weekend. The decision has been taken on medical advice, the recommendation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as on sportive and practical grounds. It’s likely that the same decision will apply to other Italian races in March. However, we are also awaiting messages from the Italian government.

“We know that any team that goes to Italy might probably be prevented from racing in any other country. The focus has to be on salvaging the bulk of the season, not a handful of races”, a joint statement in which the cycling teams, including Team Jumbo-Visma, express their concerns to the UCI says. The teams are in close contact with the UCI, who will make their decisions known shortly.

Medical advice and guidelines of the involved authorities will be taken into account before any decision about participation will be made.

Richard Plugge, general director of Team Jumbo-Visma: “Together with the management of our team, I am constantly considering and acting in the interest of the health and working conditions of our riders and staff members. That includes, for example, preventing them from quarantine abroad. We have to look at the broader picture and take responsibility for the health of riders, staff and fans.”

Mitchelton-Scott to halt racing until March 22

The team sent me this release:

Mitchelton-SCOTT position regarding COVID-19 [Coronavirus]

Following extensive discussions, Mitchelton-SCOTT has made the decision to withdraw its teams from the next period of racing, regardless of the individual Government Regulations in place.

The current period of consideration will run from 04/03/2020 to 22/03/2020 and will include the following races:

The UCI and these races have each been notified of the decision. During this period, the situation will be closely monitored and decisions for the following period will be made.

The main reasons for these withdrawals are listed below:

Whilst we have put in all the preparations and are eager to race, as an organisation we believe this is the best way to ensure we adhere to our duty of care to riders and staff, before returning to business as usual as soon as possible.

Lotto Soudal sent me this:

Lotto Soudal on Spring races in danger

As General Manager of Team LOTTO SOUDAL I would like to state that it is my sincere wish and the wish of all our riders and staff to be able to start in all Italian and French races of the coming days and weeks. Our respect for the history of cycling, the cycling fans, the organizers and media is high. We really want that the races can go on, despite the ongoing spread of Covid-19.

We have a great confidence in the medical experts of the countries involved. That’s why we will respect any future decision made by authorities of those countries - governments as well as race organizers and UCI. We are in constant contact with them and we hope for the best.

John Lelangue
General Manager LOTTO SOUDAL

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