Giro d’Italia will not be held without fans, says race director

Mauro Vegni does not believe that cycling has to copy the pandemic protocols of other sports such as football who are continuing without spectators.

The organiser of the Giro d’Italia does not believe that the Grand Tour will need to be ran without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Men’s professional cycling returned last week with La Vuelta a Burgos, followed by the first WorldTour event of the restarted season with Strade-Bianche.

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All races to have been held since lockdowns in Europe were eased have passed off without too many problems and concerns, although teams and riders admit that a positive Covid-19 case within the peloton is possible and could lead to some race cancellations.

Fans at races have so far behaved in accordance with the times, keeping their distance from riders and almost all wearing face masks.

It has led to Mauro Vegni, RCS’s race director who also oversees Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo, to confidently predict that fans will be able to attend every stage of the Giro d’Italia in October.

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“A Giro without people would remove part of the spirit of cycling,” he told Ansa It Deportes.

“Obviously, in a 200km stage we cannot manage the public in the street, but we are ready to do it in the arrival and exit zones with our own protocols: temperature checks, social distancing, masks, sanitiser, and a limit on the number of people in one place.

“We wait for the last word from the government, but I do not expect that the gates of the Giro will close like what has happened in football stadiums.”

Cases across the continent have begun to rise again in recent weeks, most concerningly for cycling in Belgium where the government has warned about the potential requirement for a new, strict lockdown.

Riders and team staff have to undergo regular Covid-19 tests, and any member of a team found to be in contact with a recent positive case will be sent home from a race – as happened in Burgos with five riders including Alex Dowsett.

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Vegni support’s such protocols, and has called on teams to remain transparent and not hide any potential positive results.

“I agree with the UCI’s protocols and from the point of view of privacy, we can’t receive the data and the results of the cyclists,” Vegni said. “The teams must indicate that all riders and staff have given negative results.”