Two Chinese teams have pulled out of the upcoming Tour de Langkawi and all other riders and staff will face screening for symptoms as part of measures being taken to combat the Coronavirus.
Race organisers say they "are closely monitoring the situation" as they take steps to ensure their event doesn't help spread a virus that at the time of writing has reportedly claimed 361 lives amongst the 17,000 confirmed cases in China.
In compliance with guidelines set out by the Malaysian government, all teams and riders competing in the race will be screened before entering the country, while anyone arriving from China will additionally have to go through a medical check-up and have their medical records sent across for examination.
Two Chinese teams, Hengxiang and Giant Cycling, have withdrawn from the race due to concerns over Coronavirus, leaving just one Chinese team, SSIOS Miogee, who will take the start line on Friday February 7th. Facemasks and hand sanitiser will also be provided to all people working at the race as an extra precaution.
After the Tour of Hainan was postponed because of the Coronavirus, rumours had apparently circulated that Langkawi would face a similar fate. However, race organisers remain confident their event shouldn't be too badly affected by the situation.
SSIOS Miogee are still able to race as they will arrive without any Chinese riders or staff, instead taking personnel who have been based outside of China in the build-up to the race. Therefore, their two Dutch riders, as well as a Greek, Filipino, Uruguayan and Spaniard will take the start line in the 25th edition of the stage race.
Their two Dutch riders, André Looij and Jeroen Meijers, have said they were expecting to pick up new equipment from their team in Malaysia. However, Wielerflits report that due to the circumstances they will now travel with last season's kit and will bring their own gels and nutrition from home.
The team has hired a replacement mechanic, soigneur and manager from the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, respectively, and all riders in the squad will also bring their own set of spare wheels.
The Tour de Langkawi have said they will continue to monitor the situation and take further measures if needed. The UCI 2.Pro fixture runs from February 7-14. One WorldTour team will be racing, NTT Pro Cycling, as well as a number of well-known ProTeam outfits including Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec and B&B Hotels - Vital Concept.
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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