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Hello again, CyclingTips readers.
We arrive at the weekend with more angles on a wild week for the folks over at Mitchelton-Scott, news on the Giro d’Italia, and the rollout of the UCI’s protocol for the return of racing.
The Mitchelon-Scott/Manuela Fundación saga took quite a few twists and turns over the past few days. If you’re still trying to get a handle on everything, you’re not alone; in fact, the folks over at Manuela Fundación seem pretty confused by the whole thing right about now too.
As for the Giro, race director Mauro Vegni confirmed to RaiSport on Friday that the race will start in Sicily. Organizers had to make some changes to the route after the planned start in Hungary was called off. What’s more, according to Vegni, the race will take place with a viewing public, albeit with some social distancing measures in place.
And speaking of social distancing, the UCI has published its protocol for the resumption of racing this season, and central to the plans is an approach relying on “team bubbles.” Riders and personnel from within teams will be tested ahead of races and will then maintain social distancing while at hotels and traveling.
Read on for more …
| ‘Team bubbles’ at races: UCI publishes protocol for return to competition
The UCI published its protocol for the resumption of road racing amid the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, presenting a set of procedures that will either be required or recommended when competition picks back up again.
Central to the UCI’s protocol is the required implementation of “team bubbles,” which will comprise riders and other team personnel, who will be screened for COVID-19 prior to racing and will then observe social distancing while at hotels and traveling. Those team bubbles will make up what the UCI is calling a “peloton bubble,” which would theoretically maintain social distancing from those outside the peloton throughout the race, assuming all of the constituent team bubbles observe the rule.
“This protocol of instructions and recommendations is fundamental, especially for the teams and organizers, with a view to the resumption of cycling races,” said UCI president David Lappartient in a statement.
“These measures remain dependent on the laws and measures in the different host countries and may need to be adapted but this protocol is another step towards our sport’s return to life.”
| Giro organizers confirm start in Sicily
Giro d’Italia organizers confirmed that this year’s race will get underway in Sicily after the initially planned start in Budapest, Hungary, was called off amid the coronavirus pandemic. Race director Mauro Vegni told RaiSport that organizers are currently drawing up plans for the first few stages.
Furthermore, RCS CEO Paolo Bellini told RaiSport that organizers have been in conversations with the government regarding plans for keeping the race at least somewhat open to the public while also following some safety measures.
| Manuela Fundación’s perspective on the collapsed deal with Mitchelton-Scott
Following the apparent collapse of the deal between Mitchelton-Scott and Manuela Fundación, the team at the latter that had been tasked with seeing things through has been left wondering what in the world happened.
Stefano Garzelli – the former Giro d’Italia winner who was handling the negotiations on the Manuela Fundación side of things – has told Cicloweb that a contract was signed on June 5 between the group run by Spanish businessman Francisco Huertas and the company of Mitchelton-Scott manager Shayne Bannan. The Manuela Fundación team was expecting ownership of the team to pass to Huertas on January 1 of next year.
“We had already scheduled a series of technical meetings, already to talk about 2021 as well as the current season,” Garzelli said. “Booked hotels, set dates, and then a jersey designed and presented …”
With Mitchelton-Scott owner Gerry Ryan pulling the plug on the arrangement, it is unclear what happens next.
| Report: De Plus will head to Ineos on a three-year deal
Wielerflits reports that talented climber Laurens De Plus has an agreement in place that will take him to Ineos for the next three years.
The 24-year-old Belgian proved himself a valuable contributor in his first season with Jumbo-Visma last year and seemed on track to see his role continue to grow, but according to Wielerflits, his future lies with the rival Ineos team.
| Sagan interested in taking on Dirty Kanza after his road career is over
Peter Sagan is squarely focused on his road objectives for now, but in an interview with Cyclingnews, he said that he was keen to ride some well-known off-road events after his WorldTour career is over.
Asked whether he was interested in racing Dirty Kanza or the Leadville 100, Sagan told Cyclingnews, “Absolutely, these events would excite me. I think I will have to tick those boxes in the future but, again, as a simple participant. For me, the result wouldn’t be the aim but just to enjoy the ride, experience the ambiance and mingle with all the other riders.”
| French federation allows resumption of amateur racing
The French Cycling Federation has announced that after a lengthy hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, amateur racing can resume “with immediate effect,” albeit with plenty of government regulations still in place to restrict large gatherings.
As such, as Cyclism’Actu reports, time trials are the first discipline authorized to return for now.
| Black Cyclists Network launching UK domestic racing team
The Black Cyclists Network has announced its plans to launch the United Kingdom’s first domestic racing squad for BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic) riders with an eye toward competing in 2021.
The newly announced team currently comprises nine riders, with plans for a final roster of 10.
The organization is looking for partners to support its endeavors and has also created a GoFundMe. You can find out more here.
In case you missed it
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Today’s featured image of Laurens De Plus pushing the pace at the Tour de France comes from Cor Vos.