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Four teams out of Women's Tour of Flanders, including defending champion Bastianelli

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM APRIL 07 Podium Annemiek Van Vleuten of The Netherlands and Team MitcheltonScott Marta Bastianelli of Italy and Team Virtu Cycling European Champion Jersey Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig of Denmark and Bigla Pro Cycling Team Celebration during the 16th Tour of Flanders 2019 Ronde van Vlaanderen Women Elite a 1592km race from Oudenaarde to Oudenaarde RondeVlaanderen FlandersClassic RVV19 on April 07 2019 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Alé BTC Ljubljana team will not start the Women's Tour of Flanders, leaving the race without its defending champion Marta Bastianelli. The team had dropped out of Gent-Wevelgem after having a COVID-19 infection within the squad.

Alé BTC Ljubljana director Fortunato Lacquaniti said the team is still in quarantine and the results of re-tests for the virus will not be known until Saturday, making it technically not feasible to travel to the Tour of Flanders.

"With great regret we have to give up the race. There are deadlines and rules to be respected and we have no other choice. In addition, the riders have been practically at a standstill for a week and would have no way of facing such an important and demanding race in optimal conditions," Lacquaniti said.

The Astana Women's Team and Chevalmeire squads also withdrew from the event over concerns about the COVID-19 situation. 

"We will not ride the Ronde because it would be irresponsible to expose our riders and staff members to that risk. We also have an important social responsibility as a team in preventing further contamination," the Chevalmeire team said, according to Sporza.

Equipe Paulé Ka withdrew after the team's title sponsor failed to live up to its obligations. The team has no funding to continue racing.

The CCC Team, which pulled out of the Brabantse Pijl because of a coronavirus case, are currently due to start, with Marianne Vos one of the main favourites.

Bastianelli won the 2019 edition in a three-rider sprint over Annemiek van Vleuten and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.

See the full start list here.