By Jonny Long
The 2020 Giro d'Italia has been postponed, race organisers have announced.
The decision follows Hungary's decision to cancel the opening three stages of the Italian Grand Tour, due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, with race organisers RCS Sport now saying they will look for a new date for the race.
This new date for the three-week stage race won't come before April 3, which is the day a ban on sports in Italy comes to an end as the country try to halt the spread of the virus.
RCS Sport said in a statement: "In response to the spread of the coronavirus the Hungarian government has declared a state of emergency. This prohibits the organisation of mass events and makes it impossible to organise international events.
"As a consequence, the Organising Committee of the Giro d'Italia's Hungarian stages declared that the Giro's start could not be held in Hungary at the originally scheduled time. All parties have agreed that they are determined to work together to enable the Giro d'Italia to depart from Hungary at a later time.
"RCS Sport, having taken note of the international and national situation, announces that the date of the 2020 Giro d'Italia is thereby postponed."
A Hungarian politician in charge of cycling called Révész Máriusz announced the news of the cancellation of the opening stages in a Facebook post. He said the Hungarian organising committee took the decision on the morning of March 12, amid growing concern over the spread of coronavirus.
Máriusz says they will now seek to host the Giro's Grande Partenza in Hungary at another edition.
His statement read: "In the last three weeks, there has been a number of negotiations between Hungarian and Italian organisers, the Hungarian organising committee has announced several times that competition can not harm the safety and health of the Hungarian people, therefore there is less and less chance of the start in Hungary.
"Unfortunately, in Italy, the virus has increased and the number of diseases and the number of victims has increased. As a result, the Italian government has announced a whole country-wide lockdown. Meanwhile, the virus has reached Hungary and in order to stop the virus the Hungarian government has announced a national state of emergency, which precludes the organisation of some sporting events and makes it impossible to organise international events.
"On March 12th, the organising committee of the Hungarian start of the Giro d 'Italia told our Italian partner that the start of the Giro could not be held in Hungary. The aim of both parties is to change the contract in order to start from Hungary at a later date."
RCS Sport have already been forced to postpone three of their Italian races in March, Strade Bianche being the first to go before Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan - San Remo followed suit.
Paris-Nice, run by rival race organisers ASO still went ahead, but the final stage eight of the French race was cancelled before the start of stage six.
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. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. 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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