Parkhotel Valkenburg announce they are skipping Strade Bianche and Trofeo Binda

EF Pro Cycling have asked to pull out of Italian races because of coronavirus

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Parkhotel Valkenburg have announced they will not be racing Strade Bianche or Trofeo Binda because of concerns over coronavirus.

The upcoming Italian races have faced uncertainty because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in the north of the country, with 11 towns currently locked down by authorities to contain the spread.

Men’s team EF Pro Cycling had also asked the UCI and race organisers if they can pull out of Italian races without being penalised.

Earlier this week, race organiser RCS Sport said that Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico would be going ahead as planned, but some teams have now taken the decision not to race in Italy.

Parkhotel Valkenburg, recent winners of Omloop van het Hageland with Lorena Wiebes,  have announced they will not be racing in Italy, after Dutch authorities said people should only travel to the country if absolutely necessary.

In a statement, Dutch UCI women’s team Parkhotel Valkenburg said: “It’s not about if we want to race, we do for sure.

“But when you start a steam or start with organising a race, you need to do this with many safety aspects.

“Riders need to be and feel safe in a team, race organisations need to make a safe race for riders but also for all the stakeholders.

“We are not going to Siena and start in Strade Bianche on March 7. The same is for Trofeo Alfredo Binda on March 22.”

EF Pro Cycling boss, Jonathan Vaughters, has asked cycling's governing body if his team can be excused from Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico, according to the Wall Street Journal.

He said on Twitter: “This isn’t about panic. This is about helping local medical efforts to slow spread, so they can keep up with demand.

“Its not being afraid, it’s being responsible.”

Italy is the third most coronavirus affected country, with 2,500 cases currently confirmed and 79 deaths from the illness.

The northern regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto have seen most cases, while Tuscany has only seen around 13 confirmed coronavirus positives.

>>> Cycling and coronavirus: Everything you need to know 

Milan-San Remo, set for March 21, starts in the capital of Lombardy and heads south to the Mediterranean coast, while Tirreno-Adriatico opens on March 17 with stages in Tuscany and then moves south.

Strade Bianche on March 7 takes place in Tuscany, while Trofeo Binda is raced exxlusively in Lombardy the day after Milan San Remo.

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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.