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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
Health-related news continues to dominate the headlines of the cycling world.
Over in the United Arab Emirates, the number of coronavirus cases associated with the UAE Tour has reportedly risen to 12. Authorities have specified that four of those cases involve riders.
Here’s hoping they recover quickly.
Meanwhile, with the initially planned date for Strade Bianche looming, several teams have announced their intention not to start an upcoming stretch of races in Italy, while the Italian government continues to formulate plans for the coming days that could take major bike races off the table entirely.
Stay tuned for more on that.
Until next time, readers.
| Four riders among 12 cases of coronavirus linked to UAE Tour
La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that the count of coronavirus cases linked to the UAE Tour has risen to 12, with four riders among that number. According to the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Health and Prevention, two of those four are Russian, one is Italian, and one is Colombian.
In conjunction with the emergence of news regarding the increased number of cases was the announcement that riders and staff quarantined on the fourth floor of what was the UAE Tour team hotel in Abu Dhabi will remain there for some time longer. The members of Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ, and Gazprom-Rusvelo that are quarantined there are expected to be on lockdown until at least March 14.
| Teams announce intent to skip races
EF, Jumbo-Visma, Groupama-FDJ, Mitchelton-Scott (both the men’s and women’s teams), and Parkhotel Valkenburg have all publicly announced their intents to skip various races on the upcoming calendar in the face of mounting concerns over coronavirus.
For now, most of those decisions involve Italian races, but Mitchelton’s announcement was broader, covering races like Paris-Nice and the Ronde van Drenthe.
| Italian events on the brink of cancellation
Even if teams are currently planning to go ahead with their expected starts, Italian races like Strade Bianche and Milano-Sanremo stand on the brink of cancellation.
Although both the RCS and the UCI have come out with public statements leaving the door open for races to continue, authorities in Italy are working on legislation to limit public events that could make it impossible for organizers there to host major races in the near future. Further details are expected soon.
| ASO working on women’s Tour de France
Le Télégramme reports that Tour de France organizer ASO is working on bringing back a women’s Tour de France.
“We are seriously working on a project for a women’s stage race. We want to organize it in the short term,” Tour director Christian Prudhomme told Le Télégramme. “We want to talk to everyone, not just 50 percent of the population.”
| Louis Garneau Sports filing for bankruptcy protection in Canada
As Bicycle Retailer reports, Louis Garneau Sports is filing for creditor protection in Canada, with debts there amounting to $23.9 million USD.
The company plans to temporarily lay off 66 employees at its headquarters. Louis Garneau USA, Inc., Louis Garneau Mexico Inc. and Sugoi Global Inc. are not involved in the filing.
| Young wins Taiwan stage 4
Eric Young picked up his second stage victory of this year’s Tour de Taiwan on stage 4.
Three days after winning the opening stage, the 31-year-old American out-sprinted Youcef Reguigui and Nick White to nab another victory.
In case you missed it
The sprinter, her struggle, and the storm raging back home
As Iain Treloar writes, Sarah Lee Wai-sze – a sprinter from Hong Kong – was competing at Track Worlds in Berlin with all the hope and pressure of her trouble-wracked homeland riding on her shoulders.
| A botched coronavirus quarantine: Troubling tales from UAE Tour
The quarantine measures enacted in the team hotel in Abu Dhabi following the stoppage of the UAE Tour raise some serious questions.
| New third-generation Lapierre Aircode aero bike spotted in Belgium
Astute observers may have noticed a prototype Lapierre aero bike on the Groupama-FDJ team car in Belgium recently.
Today’s featured image comes of the peloton at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race comes from Cor Vos.