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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, March 6, 2020

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2019 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

God created man, but I could do better. - Erma Bombeck

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Sunday's GP Industria & Artigianato cancelled

Here's the organizer's news release:

Mar 5, 2020: The Larcianese Cycling Union, in agreement with the competent authorities, has decided to cancel the 43rd Gran Premio Industria & Artigianto di Larciano, scheduled for Sunday 8 March 2020. We will take immediate action to find another date on the 2020 international calendar in which to relocate the event.

Below is the official press release.

43rd Larciano Industry & Crafts Grand Prix Press release:

Following repeated contacts with the Prefecture of Pistoia, in the person of the Vicar of the Prefect Dr. Carmela Crea, through the Mayor of Larciano Lisa Amidei, it was verified that for the event called 43 ° Gran Premo Industria & Artigianato, it was not It is possible to guarantee the conditions provided for by the Prime Minister's Decree of 4 March 2020, containing 'measures to combat and contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout the country'.

Therefore the Unione Ciclistica Larcianese asd in agreement with the competent authorities has decided to cancel the sporting event called the 43rd Gran Premio Industria & Artigianto di Larciano, scheduled for Sunday 8 March 2020.

The Larcianese Cycling Union will take action with the competent sports authorities to find another date on the 2020 international calendar in which to place the canceled event.

THE PRESIDENT, Alcide Falasca

Saturday's Strade Bianche cancelled

We posted the information about the race cancellation here.

Organizers are still planning to run Paris-Nice, which starts March 8

Here's the organizer's March 5 press release:

March 5th 2020 - 19:13

The 78th edition of Paris-Nice, following the confirmation of the health authorities and the Ministry of Sport on Tuesday 3rd  March, will take place with 19 teams on the start-line. Considering the exceptional circumstances, additional invitations have been extended to two UCI ProTeams; B&B Hotels-Vital Concept and Circus-Wanty Gobert. With the agreement of the Union Cycliste Internationale and after consultation with the participating teams, the organisers have decided to increase the amount of riders per team from seven to eight.

The lineups and the list of participants will be published the day before the first stage, following the Sporting Directors’ meeting. Even though the full team lineups have not yet been officially announced, the presence of Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani, Wout van Aert, Michael Woods and Romain Bardet has been confirmed, despite not being in the initial lists. The new signups add to a strong roster of riders already in line to start the race such as Thibaut Pinot, Julian Alaphilippe, Nairo Quintana, Primoz Roglic, Warren Barguil, Sergio Higuita as well as some of the strongest candidates for stage wins; Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett and World Champion Mads Pedersen.

The 19 teams expected at the start (05/03)


Deceuninck-Quick Step
Circus-Wanty Gobert

AG2R La Mondiale
B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
Total Direct Energie
Team Arkéa-Samsic
Nippo Delko Provence

Team Sunweb

Israel Start-Up Nation

Team Jumbo-Visma

South Africa
NTT Pro Cycling Team

Movistar Team

EF Pro Cycling

Ag2r La Mondiale Team will not participate in Italian races

The team sent me this notice:

5 March 2020: AG2R LA MONDIALE Pro Cycling Team will not participate in upcoming Italian races

Following the cancellation of Strade Bianche, the general management of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team has decided not to participate in the races organized in Italy (Tirreno-Adriatico (March 11-17), Milan-San Remo (March 21), for which our team was registered, as a precaution to protect the health of our riders and members of the coaching staff.


Ag2r won't be racing for a while

“We are closely monitoring the coronavirus crisis, in close collaboration with Dr Eric Bouvat, the team’s head doctor, and we are attentive to the decisions being made by the health authorities. As the team manager, I cannot risk the health and integrity of our staff when the health situation is so unstable in Italy, and many legitimate questions have been raised within the team. Sporting interests should not overshadow prudence and wisdom when it comes to public health. We are very sorry for the organizers of these legendary races and we have informed them this morning of our decision,”

Team INEOS to temporarily withdraw from racing

The team sent me this:

Team INEOS have today taken the decision to withdraw temporarily from all racing until the Volta a Catalunya on March 23. We have notified the UCI that we will not be competing in any races during this period.


We won't be seeing Team INEOS racing for a while. This makes me sad, but I know there is no rational alternative.

We have taken this decision given the unique set of circumstances we are facing following yesterday’s tragic news about Nico Portal. And clearly we recognise there is also a very uncertain situation with Coronavirus more widely.

We will not be racing the following races:

- Strade Bianche
- Paris-Nice
- Tirreno-Adriatico
- Milan-San Remo
- Nokere Koerse
- Bredene Koksijde Classic

We are doing this:

- Wanting first and foremost to look after our team members, their family and friends, who are all grieving for a much loved teammate and whose funeral will be taking place in the coming days.

- Recognising also our duty of healthcare to riders and staff in what is a very fast moving and challenging situation with Coronavirus. We have taken the best medical advice and recognise that these are exceptional times for everyone - beyond just cycling.

- Appreciating our wider responsibilities to local communities through which we would travel and the current burden on the public health authorities within them who are dealing with a challenging and unprecedented situation.

- Acknowledging the unique mobile nature of cycling with its travelling peloton of riders and staff across towns and regions.

Sir Dave Brailsford said:
"This is a uniquely sad moment for everyone at the Team. We have lost someone we all loved very much and are all grieving for Nico. I would like to thank everyone for their messages following the tragic news yesterday. They have really meant a lot to us all as we try to come to terms with this terrible news. Nico meant the world to us as a Team and it is genuinely touching to know how much he also meant to everyone else across the sport.

"We are taking this decision to put a temporary pause on racing today because of this unique set of circumstances we are facing. It is right for the Team given what has happened but I also believe it is in the best interests of both cycling and the wider public.

"Cycling is a uniquely mobile sport. We have a duty of care both to our riders and staff but also to the people living in the areas where we race. We do not want to be in a position where our riders become potentially infected or quarantined on race as has already happened. Equally we are acutely aware that these are difficult times for all local health services and we do not want to put any additional pressure or burden whatsoever upon them when all their focus should rightly be on their own local population. Recent events at the UAE Tour have illustrated some of these challenges for cycling as a sport.

"This pause will give us the time to grieve for Nico in private, to support each other at what is a very sad moment and to treasure the memory of a great and much loved teammate and friend. We hope everyone will understand why this is so important to us."

Astana withdraws from racing until March 20

Here's the team's news release:

05/03/2020 /  NEWS: For a period of 15 days, Astana Pro Team will withdraw from races due to the COVID-19 virus. Starting from today, the team won’t participate in any competition until March 20th. This decision has been made after careful consideration of the team’s management and its doctors.

Team Astana

Team Astana has suspended its racing program for 15 days. Sirotti photo

“With this measurement, we have chosen to protect the health of our riders and staff and to take our responsibility for the society in not further spreading the virus. Of course, we would have preferred to participate in all upcoming races, but for now, it’s safety first. We still have a long season ahead with many other important races. It was not an easy decision, but we have to protect the cycling family as well as our own families at home”, says General Manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Because of this decision, Astana Pro Team won’t participate in the following races: Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, and Tirreno-Adriatico.

The UCI's statement on the Coronavirus threat

The UCI posted this on Wednesday:

Impact of the coronavirus on the UCI International Calendar: Mar 4, 2020, 18:45 PM

Following a meeting held today with representatives of different members of the cycling family – teams, riders and organisers -, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) specifies the following on the subject of the next events on its calendar given the current pneumonia epidemic (Covid-19) linked to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

The decision has been taken not to proceed with the cancellation of any events at this stage. Any possible decision to cancel will be taken by the health authorities in the concerned regions depending on the evolution of the local situation and different risk factors identified. The organisers and all members of the cycling family will be obliged to comply to any such decision.

For the events still taking place, it has been decided that each organiser must take a certain number of measures with the aim of limiting to a maximum the risk of the coronavirus spreading further. These include increasing the distance between the public and riders, particularly in the start and finish zones; respecting a strict medical protocol, variable depending on the country, but in any case including a process for dealing with suspected cases and the provision of a detailed map of establishments capable of carrying out diagnostic tests for the coronavirus; limiting the number of teams staying in each hotel; respecting certain hygiene measures, for example avoiding the use of the same pen by riders signing in at the beginning of the race.

If the organisers are required, on decision by their authorities, to refuse the participation of certain teams or if teams find themselves unable to take part in an event for a valid reason, the UCI will need to be informed rapidly. In such a situation, it will take necessary measures, on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that no team is penalised, either financially or when their sporting results are considered, in particular when it comes to evaluating their UCI WorldTeam or UCI ProTeam status.

If the evolution of the situation were to justify other measures, the UCI, which is permanently following the situation and remains in contact with all stakeholders via an ad hoc group, will rapidly take the necessary decisions.

The UCI reiterates that the measures undertaken aim to reduce the risk of infection among riders, team staff, the public and any other person involved in cycling, in order to avoid contributing to the spread of the coronavirus worldwide.

The UCI will write to each of cycling’s different groups – teams, riders, organisers and National Federations – with details of measures taken and the procedure to follow.

The UCI would like to thank the members of the cycling family for their contribution to this fight against the spreading of the coronavirus and calls for the unity of all parties, necessary in this context.

The same principles will be applied for all events on the UCI International Calendar, and for all disciplines.

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