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March 3, 2020
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Hello again, CyclingTips readers!
What effect will coronavirus have on pro cycling? That’s still a difficult question to answer. The latest headlines bring both good and bad news.
European nations have begun banning large gatherings, and we’ve already had one race, the UAE Tour, cut short. But the upcoming trio of major Italian races – Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, and Strade Bianche – all look set to go ahead.
This is a subject we’re keeping a close eye on, not least because we just had a CT reporter stuck in quarantine for days in Abu Dhabi, and will be sending reporters on multiple overseas trips over the next two months.
Until next time, readers.
| Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-San Remo, Strade Bianche to go ahead
Race organiser RCS has told pro teams that it expects its trio of upcoming Italian races will all go ahead despite coronavirus concerns.
The final decision, though, will come down to Italian health authorities. Italy has two clusters of coronavirus cases, in Lombardy and in the Veneto region. Over 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus to date.
| UCI opens investigation into Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport over abuse
The UCI has opened a formal investigation into the Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport women’s team after allegations from two riders. Canadian Maggie Coles-Lyster alleged sexual assault by a team assistant in 2017 and American Sara Youmans alleged inappropriate conduct by team director Marc Bracke as she negotiated for a contract at the end of 2019.
The allegations surfaced in a report in Le Monde on Saturday. The UCI has confirmed its investigation.
Youmans told Le Monde that Bracke requested that she send him images of herself in “panties and bras.” Le Monde viewed the messages in question and reported that Bracke did indeed ask Youmans to send him photos in a bikini.
| Coronavirus lockdown at UAE Tour continues… for some
Two French cycling teams described their continued coronavirus quarantine in the United Arab Emirates as “confusing” on Monday after swathes of other competitors were allowed home.
The lockdown started last Thursday when two mechanics attached to the UAE Emirates Team were suspected to have contracted the new coronavirus, and the last two stages of the race were canceled.
But as Ineos, Movistar, Jumbo-Visma and other teams all began to make relieved tweets on the plane home, it emerged that Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ remained in lockdown along with UAE Team and Russian outfit Gazprom.
| Johan Bruyneel discusses his post-2012 fall
In an interview with CyclingOpinions, Johan Bruyneel discussed his fall from grace 2012 USADA report.
Bruyneel has tended to be somewhat belligerent when discussing his past, but we see a slightly more introspective side of him in this interview.
“Do I regret the doping? That’s a very difficult question,” he said. “In fact, my biggest regret is how we were so arrogant and the way we behaved. I think that doping was inevitable and quite possibly still is. It’s a difficult question. It’s a pity that we found ourselves in an era where what we said is ‘okay, if that’s how it is, we’ll do it’. If we want to survive, then that’s what had to be done. There was no choice.”
| What do we do with Gianni Moscon?
For any other rider, getting disqualified for throwing a bike would be a baffling footnote in their career – but not Gianni Moscon, who has form. Since being signed by Team Sky in 2016 – his first pro contract following an impressive U23 season riding for the Italian Zalf amateur team, capped by a win at the U23 il Lombardia – Moscon has matured in some ways, and in others, not at all.
His is a career marked by spurts of both brilliance and brutishness.
Read more in Iain Treloar’s article here.
| Oleg Tinkov battles extradition to US on tax fraud charges
Those who followed Oleg Tinkov’s time in pro cycling will likely be unsurprised to hear that he’s currently battling extradition to the US over tax fraud charges.
Today’s featured image comes from Kristof Ramon, and shows Julian Alaphilippe on his way to victory at the 2019 Strade Bianche.