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As Eurosport initially reported and then team manager Jonathan Vaughters himself further explained on Twitter, EF has proposed that the Giro d’Italia be halted on the second rest day due to a “clearly compromised bubble.”
The UCI denied the request.
According to Eurosport, EF sent a letter to the RCS, the UCI, and teams, and others in involved in the Giro positing that “it would be better for the Giro and the UCI World Tour…(if) this be done in a systematic, holistic way versus a chaotic withdrawal on a team by team basis.”
Two entire teams, Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma, have already withdrawn from the Giro due to COVID-19 positives, and there have been more positives associated with others at the race as well. On Thursday, news emerged that 17 police officers accompanying the E-Giro, an e-bike event being run in conjunction with the Giro, have tested positive for COVID-19.
EF requested “at least two systematic Covid tests before that [second] rest day and an earlier close to the race if additional tests return positive prior to the rest day.”
As Eurosport reports, the UCI denied EF’s request to stop the race, with UCI President David Lappartient apparently responding in a letter, “we now face a challenge to finish the season and this can be achieved by continuing this spirit of collaboration and unity in professional cycling.” That said, further testing will be carried out over Thursday and Friday.
EF reportedly plans to leave the race “should anyone on our team test positive, or should the riders and staff grow uncomfortable with the situation.”
Vaughters offered further context on Thursday in tweet after Eurosport’s report was published.
“To give this some color: We aren’t threatening to leave,” he wrote. “Just making a suggestion that we feel is correct given the situation. We’d rather race all the way to finish in Milan. And if the next round of tests show it’s safe to do that; we will.”