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Coronavirus: UAE Team Emirates pull out of Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

UAE Team Emirates have joined Mitchelton-Scott, Team Ineos and Astana in withdrawing from all racing over the next two weeks. 

The team cited the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Europe and the fact that seven of their riders and a number of staff are still in quarantine in Abu Dhabi following the coronavirus scare that caused the cancellation of the final two stages of the UAE Tour.

"Given the global health emergency situation, and in line with the recent decision to implement a voluntary quarantine for the team involved in the UAE Tour, the Emirati team will suspend the competitive activity for Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano Sanremo races," read a statement from UAE Team Emirates on Thursday.

"At the end of this period, depending on the current situation, a return to competition will be assessed."

The UAE Team Emirates riders still quarantined in Abu Dhabi include Fernando Gaviria, Diego Ulissi and Tadej Pogacar. 

Cofidis, Gaprom-Rusvelo and Groupama-FDJ also remain quarantined in their Abu Dhabi hotel. La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Wednesday that four riders from the UAE Tour have tested positive for Covid-19.

RCS Sport confirmed the postponement of Strade Bianche on Thursday morning in light of the Italian government’s decree banning all sporting events that could not be held behind closed doors and protect the public and riders from the risk of contamination. Italy is trying to limit the spread of the virus after 3,000 people tested positive and more than 100 had died, largely in the north of the country.

The organiser has yet to make a decision regarding the running of next week’s Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. On Thursday, the local government of the province of Pistoia confirmed that it has not granted permission to the organisers of the GP Larciano to run their race this Sunday.

In France, the sports ministry gave the green light to the running of Paris-Nice earlier this week, though minister Roxana Maracineanu added that local prefects and mayors remained free to impose tighter measures and restrictions in their jurisdictions.

Four teams – UAE Team Emirates, Mitchelton-Scott, Ineos and Astana – have now withdrawn from Paris-Nice, while team doctors from EF Pro Cycling, CCC, Sunweb, Israel Start-Up Nation, Jumbo-Visma, Cofidis, Lotto Soudal, Movistar, Alpecin-Fenix, Rally Cycling and Total Direct Energie have called for the cancellation of the Race to the Sun, as well as Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.

Paris-Nice is scheduled to get underway on Sunday.