More uncertainty over Strade Bianche as Italian government bans public sports events

The race organiser has not yet cancelled the event

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Uncertainty over the 2020 Strade Bianche has increased two days out from the race as the Italian government has banned all public sports events.

Authorities in Italy have stepped up efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, with 3,000 people now confirmed to have the illness and 107 people dying as a result.

On Wednesday night (March 4), Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that no public sporting events can be held in an attempt to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The race organiser of Strade Bianche and other prestigious Italian races, RCS Sport, has not yet cancelled the event, but says an update will be given in the coming days.

However, the decision may be taken away from RCS as a number of WorldTour teams are pulling out of races over health concerns for their riders and staff.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, RCS Sport said: “We will communicate the updates and details in the coming days, following the meetings with the appropriate authorities, starting from the meeting with the prefecture of Siena tomorrow.”

RCS has cancelled the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche mass participation event, but has not yet made a decision on Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and the Giro di Sicilia.

On Wednesday, a number of teams announced they would be pulling out of Strade Bianche, including Parkhotel Valkenburg, Team Ineos, and Jumbo-Visma.

Some riders and media have already flown out to Siena, where Strade Bianche starts and finishes, ready for the race.

A statement from the Italian government said: “There will be no sporting events with the presence of the public in order to prevent further contagion opportunities.

“Sports events and competitions of all kinds and disciplines, held in every place, both public and private, are suspended; however it is permitted to carry out the aforementioned events and competitions behind closed doors, or outdoors without the presence of the public.”

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

Six Nations rugby matches will be held behind closed doors, while Serie A football matches have been postponed.

But it is unclear what the government decision means for a cycling event, held on public roads.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.