Jumbo-Visma and Mitchelton-Scott to skip Strade Bianche as race director says Italian races may be postponed

Coronavirus sparked health concerns about Strade Bianche, Trofeo Binda, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A third team has announced it will not be racing in Italy this weekend because of coronavirus.

Health concerns have been raised ahead of the string of upcoming Italian races, starting with Strade Bianche, because of the spread of coronavirus in the north of the country.

Jumbo-Visma has now announced that they will not race on the white roads of Tuscany this Saturday (March 7), as race director Mauro Vegni says the prestigious races could be postponed until later in the year.

Mitchelton-Scott has also announced they will not be racing from March 4 until March 22, so will miss a total of eight men's and women's races.

Dutch WorldTour team Jumbo said: “Jumbo-Visma will not participate in Strade Bianche and GP Industria, this weekend. The decision has been taken on medical advice, the recommendation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as on sportive and practical grounds. It’s likely that the same decision will apply to other Italian races in March. However, we are also awaiting messages from the Italian government.”

Jumbo-Visma rider Wout van Aert had been due to start his season at Strade Bianche, but earlier this month his team announced he would start at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in case Strade Bianche was cancelled because of coronavirus.

The announcement came shortly after Dutch UCI women’s team Parkhotel Valkenburg announced they would be skipping Strade Bianche and Trofeo Binda later this month after authorities in the Netherlands recommended people do not travel it Italy unless absolutely necessary.

EF Pro Cycling boss Jonathan Vaughters has also written to the UCI and Italian race organiser RCS sport to ask for permission to skip Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico without being penalised.

Australian WorldTour squad Mitchelton-Scott announced they will be missing Strade Bianche, GP Industria, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Ronde van Drenthe, Nokere Koerse, Milan-San Remo and Trofeo Alfredo Binda, in order to protect their riders and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

>>> Cycling and coronavirus: Everything you need to know 

Vegni, who is also responsible for organising the Giro d’Italia, told Italian cycling website Tuttobici: “Our intention, as we have repeatedly stressed in recent days, is to run and give people the spectacle that awaits the great champions.”

The RCS boss said that if the Italian government decides to ban all sporting events in the country, he would have no choice but to abandon the races.

He added: "We intend to work alongside the UCI to find a new place on the calendar for these tests, which we absolutely do not want to miss."

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