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Mitchelton-Scott has announced that it will “withdraw its teams from the next period of racing,” a move that will see both the men’s and women’s squads skipping planned starts through at least March 22.
One of a growing number of outfits to change plans in the face of coronavirus concerns, Mitchelton-Scott’s decision stands out among those already announced by squads like EF and Jumbo-Visma in that it applies to the calendar generally, not solely to races in Italy.
Mitchelton-Scott’s two squads will not only skip their scheduled appearances in Italy at the Strade Bianche, the GP Industria, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, and the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, but also Paris-Nice, the Ronde van Drenthe, and Danilith Nokere Koerse.
As it stands, the status of many of those events is already uncertain, with most upcoming races in Italy appearing to be on the brink of cancellation. Regardless of whether they run or not, Mitchelton-Scott has made it clear that it does not plan to attend.
In a statement, the team cited three main factors for its decision:
- We, as Team Doctors and the wider team, have a duty of care to protect health and wellbeing of all our riders and staff. We will not have any input into, or control over, the measures that race organisers may or may not put in place to manage the COVID-19 risks.
- We are a moving, international logistical puzzle, with staff and riders travelling between different countries with different health systems and strategies around COVID-19. Constant travel will increase the health risks and make management of logistics, potential quarantine periods, etc, extremely difficult.
- To withdraw any additional impact we as a team, either via illness or injury, may put on national and international health systems and hospitals.
The team’s plans beyond March 22 remain unclear, but according to the statement, Mitchelton-Scott hopes to return to “business as usual as soon as possible.”