As news broke that organisers were forced to cancel the next round of the Women's WorldTour at Strade Bianche, which was scheduled for Saturday, Canyon-SRAM is considering how best to proceed through the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.
Canyon-SRAM's owner and manager Ronny Lauke has told Cyclingnews that the main priority is the health and safety of his riders and staff, but that the team is monitoring the situation before making any concrete decisions on how best to plan the spring racing season.
"It’s indeed sad that races will have to be cancelled due to Covid-19. The careers, health, and safety of our riders and staff have been, and always will be, the centre of our actions. We work closely with our partner BG Klinikum Hamburg and are constantly seeking advice to assure the aforementioned," Lauke told Cyclingnews.
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RCS Sport announced on Thursday morning that it had cancelled Strade Bianche men's and women's race after a meeting between local authorities in Siena.
The organisers communicated to the teams that the races will not take place on Saturday, citing the decree announced by the Italian government on Wednesday evening, which banned all sporting events that could not be held behind closed doors as part of its efforts to protect the wider public health.
"We continue to follow the development of these infections very closely and keep ourselves permanently informed by the Robert Koch Institute and international foreign offices and their statements on how they spread, and any travel recommendations, since we believe specialists do know better then we do. In case of serious changes we will of course inform our team immediately and adjust planning," Lauke said.
"Currently, there are still only travel warnings to China and the north of Italy in individual small regions. Finally, it should be mentioned that an infection with the Covid-19 virus fortunately in most cases runs without symptoms or only with mild bronchitis-like symptoms and the probability of contracting pneumonia is still very low.
"Right now the management group of the team is looking into various possibilities how to proceed moving forward."
Rival team Mitchelton-Scott announced Wednesday that they have withdrawn both their men’s and women’s rosters from all racing with immediate effect until at least March 22 in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Europe.
Public health and safety is the main concern, however, so far the Women's WorldTour has now lost Strade Bianche and Tour of Chongming Island and likely the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, which all might be postponed to a later date, due to the risks involved with the spreading of the coronavirus.
This is in addition to already losing, for different reasons, Emakumeen Bira, the Tour of California and the Prudential Ride London Classique from the 2020 calendar.
Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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