Paris-Nice race organisers have introduced a number of special measures to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The French stage race will still be held as the virus outbreak in France has not so far been as severe as seen in Italy, with a number of major Italian races cancelled as a result.
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Amongst the measures taken are riders will not be interviewed in the morning as they sign on for the day’s stage, as well as no interviews with the media being held in the mix zone or at press conferences after the day’s racing.
On the podium, there will be no contact between riders and public figures, and barriers will be reinforced, presumably to reduce the interaction between the international riders and team staff and local populations.
Also, at the request of team’s competing, paper documents will not be given to the riders.
ASO have asked for people to “respect public health and hygiene guidelines throughout the event to help stop the spread of the virus”.
Following the cancellation of Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan – San Remo, teams have been forced to re-jig their line-ups as they try to give their top riders the best possible preparation ahead of the upcoming Belgian Classics.
Peter Sagan has been a late addition to Bora-Hansgrohe’s Paris-Nice start list, while Deceuninck – Quick-Step have made space for Zdeněk Štybar, Bob Jungels and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner Kasper Asgreen.
Jumbo-Visma are one of the latest teams to pull out of Paris-Nice due to coronavirus concerns, following the likes of Movistar, Ineos in Mitchelton-Scott in taking extra precautions and suspending racing for the majority of March.
Instead, Mitchelton-Scott’s Annemiek van Vleuten and Simon Yates will take part in a series of online events on Zwift to “pay homage” to the cancelled races.