Italian cycling federation launches investigation into riders who may have raced illegally during coronavirus lockdown

Italy enforced strict quarantine rules, but did some riders break the law?

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

The Italian cycling federation has launched an investigation to establish whether riders may have raced illegally during the coronavirus lockdown.

According to a statement released by the Federazione Ciclistica Italiana (FCI), the organisation received reports that cyclists may have been competing during the nation’s health emergency.

Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the government put nationwide quarantine measures in place on March 9.

All non-essential businesses were closed, sporting events were banned and people were told not to leave their homes, as the country tried to control the spread of coronavirus.

But it appears some people may have ignored the rules.

A statement from the FCI said: “ On June 30, the FCI’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation dossier regarding the participation of FCI members in competitions held during the emergency health period and, consequently, the suspension of sport and competitive activity.”

The FCI did not give further details about the reports, or whether it was professionals or amateurs who may have broken the rules.

Lockdown restrictions across Europe have been eased in recent weeks and racing has returned in some countries.

In Belgium, the GP Vermarc saw top rider riders compete in a one-day Kermesse, with Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) taking the victory.

But earlier this year, a group of Belgian riders were offered stern words by cycling authorities after they tried to organise a time trial during the lockdown.

The riders who call themselves ‘De Gentsche Wielerterroristen’, which translates as the Ghent Cycling Terrorists, had announced plans for an individual timed race on a 17km course around the city, with results being taken from social platform Strava.

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But the event, which was set to feature Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling), Yyves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb), was abandoned after the Belgian cycling federation intervened.

The Belgian cycling federation call the event “inappropriate.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.