CCC-Liv have announced they won’t be racing the first events in the new women’s season, due to the coronavirus risks.
The Polish Women’s WorldTour team had been due to start in two one-day races in the Navarre region of Spain today and Friday (July 23 and 24), but have instead opted to skip the events.
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Team management said they were concerned about the risk of infection in the local areas, but also raised concerns that riders and teams from other staff may not have undergone the mandatory Covid tests.
Manager Eric van den Boom said: “We have set ourselves a very strict health protocol in recent months. All this to minimise the risks of contamination with COVID-19. We were delighted to finally be able to race again; however on Wednesday, it turned out that the health risks in the Navarre region are too great”
“We’ve followed all protocols and know from the daily health monitoring of riders and staff that none of us are infected with COVID-19. Should we enter the race on Thursday, we will come into contact with riders who, as it turns out, might not have undergone the mandatory RT-PCR test. In addition, the number of infections at the location of the races has considerably increased in two days.”
CCC rider Ashleigh Moolman Pasio said: “After weeks of anticipation & hard training, it’s disappointing not to race today! However, I can trust that CCC-Liv have taken this decision with our health as priority. This is a time to stand up for what’s right for the greater good and not only to serve our own interests. “
Women’s racing returns after a five-month lay-off, with the Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa today and the Clasica Femenina Navarra tomorrow, as the UCI has put strict coronavirus regulations in place for all events.
Bizkaia-Durango have also announced they will not be competing this week, as the results of their coronavirus tests have not been returned in time for the race.
Another two teams have since pulled out.
Van den Boom added: “In consultation with our team doctor, we had to make the difficult decision not to start on Thursday and Friday. Instead, the riders stay together in the protected team bubble in Spain. It is a disappointment for everyone involved in the cycling team, but the health of our people always comes first.”
CCC-Liv do intend to start the Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria one-day race on Sunday.
The racing in Spain also coincides with the start of the men’s Sibiu Cycling Tour in Romania, which is set to go ahead despite concerns about the coronavirus spike in the country.
Mathieu van der Poel and his Alpecin-Fenix team were the first squad to announce they would not be racing in Romania due to the virus, with Andronie Giocattoli and Gazprom-RusVelo following suit just a few days before the race.
UCI stage racing returned earlier this month in Poland, but things got off to an unlucky start when the opening stage of the event was cancelled when a civilian motorbike rider crashed on the course.
The cycling calendar continues to ramp up over the coming weeks with the Vuelta a Burgos on July 28, followed by the return of WorldTour racing on August 1.