A Grand Tour postponed, Benoot’s solo victory at Paris-Nice: Daily News Digest

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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.

A tumultuous week draws to a close with news that the biggest race yet has been postponed amid the coronavirus crisis. The 2020 Giro d’Italia will not set out from Budapest, Hungary, on May 9 as planned, with organizers hoping to find a new date on the calendar later this year.

Given the situation in Italy at the moment, it is not a surprising decision, but it does hammer home the difficulties the cycling world and the world in general are facing right now.

With so many major sporting events all over the world being called off, the arrival of the weekend may not be quite the joyous occasion it so often is—but as ever, we hope you have a good one just the same.

Stay safe out there.

Until next week, readers.

What’s news

| Giro d’Italia postponed

RCS Sport, organizer of the Giro d’Italia, has announced that the 2020 edition of the race will be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision comes amid a major crisis in Italy, where the count of cases now numbers over 15,000, and also following news from Hungary, where the Giro was set to start on May 9, that the government had announced a national emergency, making major sporting events impossible.

After a string of announcements on Thursday that races like Gent-Wevelgem, the Volta a Catalunya, and the Ronde van Drenthe would be cancelled or postponed, the Giro is the first Grand Tour of the season to find itself in the same situation. RCS is hoping to reschedule, but with Italy currently on national lockdown until at least April 3, the organization said that word on possible a new date would come no earlier than then.

| Benoot wins Paris-Nice stage 6

Tiesj Benoot soloed to victory on the sixth stage of Paris-Nice on a day that saw a portion of the peloton withdraw from the event. Organizers announced on Friday morning that the race would be halted after Saturday’s seventh stage, one day early, and it is looking increasingly likely that Paris-Nice will be the last major event on the world road cycling calendar for some time.

Benoot took his stage 6 win after teammate Soren Kragh Andersen kicked off the action in the GC group. After getting away solo, Benoot pressed on alone and held off a select group of chasers to nab the victory. Michael Matthews took second ahead of Sergio Higuita in third.

Max Schachmann crashed late in the stage but was given the same finishing time as the chase group to maintain his overall lead.

Stage 6 results

1. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb 3:57:02
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:22
3. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling

| Cape Epic cancelled

The Absa Cape Epic has joined the many sporting events worldwide in cancelling its 2020 edition, which was set to get underway this Sunday on Table Mountain near Cape Town.

“Out of concern for the health and safety of our riders and other stakeholders, following recent advice received from the Western Cape Government, we have no choice but to cancel the 2020 Absa Cape Epic due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic,” said organizers in a statement.

| Women’s Tour postponed

The Women’s Tour, which has quickly emerged as one of the most popular events on the Women’s WorldTour calendar, has been postponed.

The race was initially scheduled for June 8 to 13. Organizers said they “hope to work with the UCI and British Cycling to find an alternative date in the international cycling calendar for the race to take place should conditions permit.”

| Richeze announces coronavirus positive

Max Richeze has joined UAE-Team Emirates teammate Fernando Gaviria in confirming that he tested positive for coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates, where both riders have been quarantined since the early stoppage of the UAE Tour.

“The moment has arrived for the rest of my team to go home, but unfortunately for me, the return journey is delayed,” Richeze wrote on Instagram. “I have returned a positive result for coronavirus, and therefore, my quarantine period is prolonged. Thank God I have not had strong symptoms, the infection did not manifest itself aggressively, and this keeps me optimistic.”

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Today’s featured image of race leader Richard Carapaz at the Giro d’Italia comes from Kristof Ramon.

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