Italian cycling clothing company Santini has announced it will switch to making masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
Santini, which designs and makes kits for WorldTour teams and amateur riders, is based in the city of Bergamo in the Lombardy region, which has been heavily affected by Covid-19.
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Italy has the highest number of coronavirus patients outside of China, with 41,035 confirmed cases.
Deaths from the virus in Italy have also overtaken the number of fatalities in China, as 3,405 people have died compared with 3,248 in China.
Paola Santini, marketing manager of Santini, told Bergamo News: “From the beginning we asked ourselves as entrepreneurs what we could have done.
“We are ready to produce 10 thousand masks per day. We receive many requests, but the priority will be addressed to Bergamo and its province, because we see the difficulties of our hospitals.”
Santini has approached another Bergamo company Sitip, which supplies waterproof and breathable fabrics, and worked up a prototype mask.
That mask is now ready for production and Santini are waiting for the go-ahead from Milan, with manufacture ready to begin on Monday (March 23).
Santini sponsor WorldTour teams Trek-Segafredo and Boels-Dolman as well as a number of national cycling teams including the Australian squad.
Founded in 1965 by Pietro Santini, the company started by making clothes by quickly switched to cycling apparel, inspired by Pietro’s love of cycling.
Made in Italy, Santini clothes are now worn by pro and amateur road cyclists, as well as triathlons and runners.
Leisure cycling in Italy is currently banned due to the coronavirus outbreak, in part to prevent the spread of the virus but also to reduce the burden on healthcare services caused by any crashes or injuries.
Riders are allowed out of the house for essential journeys like food or medical care, but anyone riding their bike recreationally faces a fine.