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Bigla-Katusha's Chabbey on the front lines of coronavirus response

Elise Chabbey
Bigla-Katusha rider Elise Chabbey (Image credit: Laura Fletcher)

Bigla-Katusha rider Elise Chabbey graduated from medical school recently but had planned to take the summer to devote herself to cycling before taking up the profession. The coronavirus pandemic has changed all that for the Swiss rider.

According to her team, the 26-year-old who earned her medical degree while racing over the past few years, had planned to race Strade Bianche and the Belgian races this month, but when the coronavirus began to take off in Switzerland and races were cancelled, she opted to help out at the Geneva University hospital that was understaffed to deal with the pandemic.

"Doing nothing is really not in my nature," Chabbey said. "What's happening now is unprecedented, and given the severity of the situation, I feel like I have to do something."

Chabbey's charges are a mix of Covid-19 cases and other patients. "This week, I had nine patients, and we anticipate there will be larger numbers coming to us over the next few days."

Switzerland had 2,200 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Tuesday and has seen 14 deaths so far. With no racing on the horizon, Chabbey still trains after her shift to be ready for when racing resumes.

"When this crisis has abated, I'll know that I tried to do my part, and I hope I'll be proud of that. I think that doing this now will actually help me mentally," she said. "And when racing eventually commences again, I'll be more than ready and completely motivated to join my teammates back on the road."