Skip to main content

Deceuninck-QuickStep doctor not requesting cancellation of Italian races despite coronavirus fears

Deceuninck-QuickStep at the 2020 Volta ao Algarve
Deceuninck-QuickStep at the 2020 Volta ao Algarve (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

While doctors from 11 teams have signed a letter addressed to governing body the UCI and race organisers RCS Sport and ASO requesting the cancellation of upcoming Italian and French races Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and Paris-Nice, Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad reported on Wednesday that Deceuninck-QuickStep's doctor, Yvan Vanmol, was conscientiously not among the signatories.

Although RCS Sport have yet to formally cancel their Italian spring races – meetings will be held on Thursday to discuss the matter – it seems highly likely that they will have to be rescheduled, as RCS Sport head Mauro Vegni has suggested, for June or September. Additionally, the Italian government has issued a decree calling for the cancellation of sporting and public events for the next month, although it would appear that there's still hope that bike racing, conducted as it is in the open air, may yet be exempt.

"Surely we can assume that the Italian government will be advised by specialists in the field who know better than anyone what is possible and what is not," Vanmol told Het Nieuwsblad. "Reference is made to football matches that have to be played behind closed doors. Everyone knows that a virus spreads less easily in the open air than in an enclosed space, like in a football stadium, for example, where many people are in close proximity to each other."

The Deceuninck-QuickStep doctor also questioned how rigidly his colleagues were trying to control the spread of the virus in other ways.

"Have they kept their riders in their rooms in the aftermath of the UAE Tour? Have they made the effort to isolate their riders? And what about the Tour of Flanders?" Vanmol asked, with Belgium's biggest one-day race due to take place on April 5. "You can assume that by then there will be many more cases of the coronavirus in Flanders. What are we going to do then?"