The Grande Partenza and the opening three stages of the Giro d'Italia in Hungary, scheduled for early May, have been cancelled and the May date for the whole Giro d'Italia postponed Italian due the growing risks of coronavirus pandemic.
Hungarian government commissioner Máriusz Révész announced the news via a Facebook post, with Italian race organiser RCS Sport expected to confirm the news and try to find a new location for the open stages or a new date for the Corsa Rosa.
The 2020 Giro d'Italia had been due to start with an individual time trial in Budapest on Saturday May 9, followed by a stage from Budapest to Gyor and concluding with a flat stage from Szekesfehervar to Nagykanizsa before a plane transfer to Sicily.
Race organiser RCS Sport then said it had decided to postpone all of this year's Giro d'Italia. No new date will be announced until at least April 3, when the first Italian decree on quarantine actions in Italy ends, and only after having consulted with the appropriate representatives of the Italian government and international sports institutions.
Earlier this week, UCI president David Lappartient has said that it would be a "disaster" for cycling if the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France cannot take place due to the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Europe.
Coronavirus and cycling: A timeline of the pandemic's effect on the sport
Prudhomme insists Paris-Nice will be completed despite coronavirus epidemic
Coronavirus prevention puts Paris-Nice 'behind closed doors'
"Because of the situation concerning the epidemic in Europe, organizing the first three stages of the 2020 Giro, the Grande Partenza, will not be possible," Révész wrote.
"On 12 March, the OC (organising Committee) of the Hungarian stages of the Giro has informed the Italian partner via videoconference, that the Giro GP (Grande Partenza) can't be held at the originally planned date. The parties (HUN OC, and Mauro Vegni) have agreed that both parties want to modify their contract, so the Giro can start from Hungary at a later date."
"Sadly the epidemic has become larger and larger as the days went by, the number of cases and deaths has risen, and the Italian government has declared a quarantine of the whole country. Meanwhile the virus has reached Hungary too, and to keep the epidemic controlled, the Hungarian government has declared an emergency, which forbids the organization of sports events with large number of spectators, and makes holding international events impossible."
RCS Sport has already been obliged to postpone Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico, Strade Bianche and the Giro di Sicilia due to the spread of Covid-19 in Italy. Earlier this week, the entire country was placed in lockdown, with all sporting events and public gatherings prohibited until at least April 3.
Other European sports have also been massively affected by the spread of coronavirus, with football championships put on hold.
"We've also got to understand what UEFA will do about the Euro 2020 football tournament," Vegni told the Adnkronos news agency on Thursday.
"The issue of dates for all sport is a huge puzzle that is difficult to work out."
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.