The Giotti Victoria-Savini Due team withdrew from the Trofeo Laigueglia after one of their riders returned a positive test for COVID-19 ahead of the race.
The Italo-Romanian Continental team did not report to sign-on for the race on Wednesday morning, and directeur sportif Stefano Giuliani later confirmed to Spazio Ciclismo that an unnamed rider had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
"It wasn’t an easy decision, but I believe it was the right thing to do out of respect to the organisation. The rider hadn’t had contact with his teammates, but it still seemed to us like it was the most correct decision for everybody," said Giuliani.
Giotti Victoria-Savini Due had trained for 20 days in Alanya, Turkey in February, and they had also lined up in four one-day races during their stay in the country, with new signing Andrea Guardini placing fourth at the Grand Prix Gazipasa and Grand Prix Velo Manavgat.
"We underwent a first round of swabs on Friday and they all came back negative. On Monday, the new round of testing revealed a positive coronavirus case from a rider who has been quite isolated from the group and who had stayed on longer in Turkey to train," Giuliani said.
"I’m sorry because we had prepared very well with the training camp in Turkey and we wanted to do well here. I didn’t sleep the whole night because of the situation. I take responsibility for the decision, with the lads and the sponsors, as well as with the organisation."
The UCI protocol does not automatically require a team to withdraw from a race in the event of a confirmed coronavirus case, though Alpecin-Fenix left last week’s UAE Tour following the open stage after it was confirmed that a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.
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