The 2020 Tour of Hainan has been postponed over concerns about the spread of Coronavirus.
Organisers of the stage race, held on the Chinese island province just off the nation’s south coast, informed teams that the race will be delayed to a later date because of the spread of the new virus.
Authorities in China have quarantined 18 major cities in an attempt to contain the new form of the illness, after it is believed to have emerged from a seafood market in the city of Wuhan in December.
A statement from Israel Start-Up Nation said: “Just notified by the organisers of the Chinese Tour of Hainan that the race (due to start Feb 23) will be postponed due to the coronavirus epidemic.
“Totally understandable. The world is a global village, for good and for bad.”
The news was confirmed by Continental team Tarteletto-Isorex, who said on Facebook: “Because of the influence of [coronavirus], the organising committee have to postpone the Tour of Hainan 2020, the specific time to be announced.
“Thank you for your support and understanding.”
The 2.Pro race was due to be held over eight stages from February 23 to March 1.
Last held in October 2018, the race was won overall by Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec’s Fausto Masnada. Previous winners include Alexey Lutsenko in 2016 and Sacha Modolo in 2015.
Coronaviruses are a family of illnesses that range from a cold to more severe diseases but the new version, which has infected an estimated 2,700 people with 80 deaths recorded so far, causes pneumonia-like symptoms.
Cases have been found in the US, France, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, Japan and the Philippines, but there have been no confirmed diagnoses in the UK.
The Tour of Hainan is the second race this year to be impacted by global events, after the Tour of Oman was cancelled following the death of Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos.
Last week, a spokesperson for ASO confirmed that the race would not be held this year as the nation went into official mourning for 40 days.