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March 5, 2020
How is coronavirus affecting cycling? The news is moving fast. It feels like we’re posting a story every few hours on the subject, as national authorities, the UCI, teams, and race organizers respond. So we thought it’d be handy to put it all in one place.
The following timeline is in reverse chronological order – most recent first – and we’ll keep it updated as things change. Days and times are correlated to European time.
– The ASO postpones Paris-Roubaix, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, saying in a statement that “the organizers have already begun working to try to organize new dates for these monuments, races to which teams, riders and spectators are deeply attached.”
– Flanders Classics postpones the Tour of Flanders.
– The Vuelta al País Vasco (April 6-11) and the Tour of the Alps (April 20-24) are postponed by organizers.
– The Tour de Romandie (April 28-May 3) is cancelled.
– The Oceania Road Championships (April 5-6) are cancelled.
– The Spanish government introduces measures that force the general public to stay inside their homes to limit the spread of coronavirus. Cycling has been banned as a result, preventing the hundreds of pros in Girona and elsewhere in the country from training outside.
– The UCI announces “strong measures” in the face of coronavirus. It suspends classifications for all international events (i.e. no UCI points available), asks race organisers to cancel any cycling events “in territories identified at risk by the WHO”, and requests that the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee halt the qualification period for the Tokyo Games, retroactively from March 3.
– Tomas Van Den Springel, CEO of Flanders Classics, tells Het Nieuwsblad that “We have to understand that [the Tour of Flanders is] heading in the direction of cancellation.” Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme tells French radio station RMC that “it is hard to see how [Paris-]Roubaix could be different from the rest of the races”, suggesting that it too is likely to be cancelled.
– Organisers of the Women’s Tour — the Women’s WorldTour stage race in the UK — announce that this year’s race, scheduled from 8-13 June, has been postponed.
– The Giro d’Italia is postponed. The start of the race was to take place in Hungary this year, but shortly after the Hungarian government declared a state of emergency that would suspend public events, it soon followed that RCS Sport announced the postponement of the entire Italian Grand Tour. A proposed new date will be announced no earlier than 3 April after the coronavirus situation and government responses become more clear.
– The ASO announced that Paris-Nice would be cut short by one day after Saturday’s stage 7. “It is a logical decision given the large crowds who would be expected at
the final stage,” said race director Christian Prudhomme.”
– Gent-Wevelgem, the E3 BinckBank Classic, Nokere Koerse, Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne and Dwars door Vlaanderen are all called off after a Belgian government decree bans sporting events through April 3. The Tour of Flanders sportif is cancelled as well, but no changes have yet been made to the men’s and women’s WorldTour races.
– Fernando Gaviria confirms that he tested positive for coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates, where he and his UAE-Team Emirates squad have been quarantined since UAE Tour was stopped.
– The Ronde van Drenthe and other Dutch races are cancelled following a government decree in the Netherlands halting events of over 100 people through the end of March.
– The Spanish cycling federation calls off all racing through the next two weeks.
– Organizers postpone the Volta a Catalunya.
– Mauro Vegni acknowledges the possibility that RCS could reschedule the Giro d’Italia, telling Adkronos, “Of course we will try to save the start of the Giro d’Italia on May 9 from Hungary, but another date is also possible.”
– Tour of the Gila organisers announce the race’s cancellation.
– Norwegian ProTeam Uno-X announces it too will suspend all racing until the end of March.
– Gazprom-Rusvelo says in a social media post that UAE Tour rider Dmitry Strakhov was notified that he had tested positive for coronavirus.
– Rally Cycling decides to temporarily pause racing activities until further notice.
– The Tour de Normandie in France and the Volta ao Alentejo in Portugal are cancelled. The Downhill MTB World Cup in Lousã, Portugal is postponed.
– Stage 2 of Paris-Nice runs without spectators at the finish line.
– As Paris-Nice gets underway, the French government bans gatherings of more than 1,000 people in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.
– After 10 days on lockdown, quarantine ends for the Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ contingents in Abu Dhabi.
– RCS postpones Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the Tour of Sicily.
– Movistar announces withdrawal from racing until March 22.
– Prestigious Women’s WorldTour race Trofeo Binda, originally scheduled for March 22 announces that it too will be postponed, as a result of the Italian government decree restricting public gatherings to combat the spread of the virus. Unlike Strade Bianche, there is a date pencilled in for the race’s return on June 2.
– The Sea Otter Classic announces that it will not take place in mid-April, as planned, and that it will reschedule.
– CCC withdraws from Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, with team president Jim Ochowicz adding that the team is “disappointed with the lack of direction by the UCI at this critical moment in the sport as all men’s and women’s teams have been left to fend for themselves.”
– UAE-Team Emirates pulls out of Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.
– Sunweb pulls its men’s team out of Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, and its women’s team out of Trofeo Alfredo Binda.
– Jumbo-Visma withdraws from Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.
– Ag2r La Mondiale pulls out of Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.
– Astana joins the list of teams publicly stating its intention to skip upcoming races; the Kazakh squad says it will not race Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, or Tirreno-Adriatico.
– Race organizer RCS Sport officially announces that Strade Bianche will not be held on Saturday. In a statement, RCS says that it will request that the UCI “allocate a new date on the international cycling calendar for Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite.”
– Team Ineos withdraws from racing until the Volta a Catalunya on March 23, both in response to coronavirus concerns and to allow riders and team staff to grieve for DS Nico Portal who died earlier in the week. Ineos will miss Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and more.
– RCS announces the cancelation of the Strade Bianche sportif on March 8. Regarding the pro races, it says it 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.”
– It appears Italian races Strade Bianche, Trefeo Alfredo Binda, Milan-San Remo, and Tirreno Adriatico will be canceled after Italian authorities release a decree announcing a slew of rules surrounding sporting events, effective until April 3rd. “Sporting events and competitions of any order or discipline, carried out in any place, public and private, are suspended,” reads the decree. There are some exceptions made for stadium sports, where fans can be kept out.
– The UCI announces that it won’t cancel any events as yet. It decrees that “each [race] organiser must take a certain number of measures with the aim of limiting to a maximum the risk of the coronavirus spreading further.” The UCI also tells teams that, should they be unable to take part in a race for “a valid reason”, the UCI will “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.”
– Mitchelton-Scott pulls its men’s and women’s teams out of multiple races, including those not in Italy. The team will not race at all until March 22.
– Quarantined Cofidis riders finally get bikes and trainers into their hotel rooms in Abu Dhabi.
– Jumbo-Visma pulls out of Strade Bianche.
– Groupama-FDJ pulls out of Strade Bianche, GP Larciano and Tirreno-Adriatico “lacking sufficient numbers of available riders and staff, partly due to the quarantine period observed in the UAE.”
– CCC-Liv pulls out of Strade Bianche.
– Parkhotel Valkenburg pulls out of Strade Bianche and Trofeo Alfredo Binda saying that “if the Italian government, the race organization or the UCI will not take responsibility, then we need to take it.”
– A group of 13 WorldTour doctors writes to the UCI, RCS Sport and ASO calling for the cancellation of Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and possibly Paris-Nice. “This is the most responsible intervention: for the riders, but also for general health,” they wrote.
– Israel Cycling Academy (the Continental feeder team for Israel Start-Up Nation) pulls out of the Arava Gran Fondo, Israel’s biggest one-day race, as riders are forced into home quarantine by a new Israeli government directive.
– A report in La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Health and Prevention in announcing a total of 12 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Four of those 12 are riders: Two are reportedly Russian, one is Italian, and one is Colombian. Cofidis will stay in quarantine until March 14.
– EF Pro Cycling sends a letter to the UCI requesting permission to pull out of Strade Bianche without penalty.
– Most of the UAE Tour’s riders, team staff, organizational staff, and media have now left the UAE.
– The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is postponed to August. Sea Otter is on the fence.
– Cleared UAE Tour teams continue to depart. Media and organizational staff at the Crowne Plaza are again cleared to leave. Riders still in quarantine at the W vent their frustration at the lack of information or a timetable for departure. Reports emerge of re-testing and potential positive tests.
– Both hotels are placed back on lockdown. The fourth floor of the W, where the Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ, and Gazprom-Rusvelo teams are staying – is quarantined. The UAE-Team Emirates squad, from whom the first two reported cases came, announces that it will remain in quarantine for two weeks.
Later, teams are again told that personnel that have tested negative can leave, and some teams begin to leave.
– Authorities announce that the majority of tests have come back negative, with some tests still remaining. Riders and staff at the W are told that they will be allowed to leave upon receiving negative tests. Hours later, people at the Crowne Plaza are told they are cleared to go as well. Some members of teams, of the media, and of the organizational staff begin to depart.
Late on Saturday evening, ambulances arrive at the W and begin taking some riders and staff for testing.
– In the very early hours of Friday morning, organizers announce that the race has been halted due to two positive cases of coronavirus among “participants” in the race. It is later clarified that these individuals are Italian members of a team’s staff.
Medical personnel conduct coronavirus tests on individuals staying at the team hotel, and then proceed to the Crowne Plaza hotel, where media and many of the organizational staff are staying, to conduct tests there. Those tested at the Crowne Plaza are asked to stay in their rooms; those tested at the W Abu Dhabi are cleared to leave their rooms at first, but eventually asked to confine themselves to their rooms. State authorities announce that 167 tests – out of hundreds more – have come back negative.
– Following stage 5 of the UAE Tour, riders, staff, and media arrive in Abu Dhabi, where they will stay through the end of the event. Late in the evening, those participating in, organizing, or covering the race are asked to remain in their hotels. Medical personnel arrive at the W Abu Dhabi, where teams are staying.
– Amid a worsening coronavirus outbreak in Northern Italy, the viability of running Milan-San Remo and other Italian races is questioned. Speaking to Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra, RCS’ cycling head Mauro Vegni acknowledges that “the situation in Italy is really difficult. Our first concerns are the Tirreno-Adriatico and above all, Milan-San Remo scheduled in less than a month. There is no plan B.”
– Dick Pound, a senior International Olympics Committee member, says that if coronavirus isn’t under control by late May, the IOC would most likely be forced to cancel the Tokyo Olympics altogether rather than postpone or relocate them.
– The 2020 UAE Tour starts in Dubai.
– The UCI announces the postponement of all races in China during April and May – including the Women’s WorldTour race the Tour of Chongming Island, the Tour of Zhoushan Island and the Tour of Taiyuan. According to the UCI, a communication of revised dates for these races, and any further cancellations in China, is to be made on March 15.
– Chinese factories, including those making bikes as well as small but crucial items like reflectors, first began reporting extended post-Chinese New Year closures due to coronavirus-related worker absences.
– Tour of Hainan canceled as coronavirus spreads in China.