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Giro d'Italia will not apply Tour de France 'two strikes, team out' coronavirus rule

Mauro Vegni at the 2018 Giro d'Italia 'big start'
Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Race director Mauro Vegni has said that the Giro d’Italia will not follow the Tour de France in enforcing a ‘two strikes, team out’ rule for coronavirus cases during the event, which takes place from October 3-25.

At the Tour, any team that records two positive tests for COVID-19 among its riders and staff within a seven-day period will be excluded from the race. Four teams reported coronavirus cases on the first rest day, though it has been confirmed that the seven-day period will have elapsed by the time they face the next round of mandatory testing around the second rest day on Monday.

Speaking at Tirreno-Adriatico, Vegni said that RCS Sport would take a different approach to dealing with any coronavirus cases in the Giro’s race ‘bubble’ in October.

“It’s not something that I agree with,” Vegni said, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “As the [UCI] rule says that the organiser ‘can’ but doesn’t ‘have to’ act in that way, I won’t apply the rule. If there is a positive case, they will be isolated according to the protocol. And I’ll test that team every day, starting from the day of the first positive test – every day, even three or four days in a row.

“I’ll test them, but I won’t send the team home. I think that’s correct and respectful towards people who don’t have anything to hide in a situation like that. Anyone who tests positive certainly isn’t a bandit. I’ll obviously look to safeguard them from a health point of view, but I’m not going to nullify the work of a team that has been preparing for a year for a big event.”

The 2020 Giro was originally due to take place from May 9-31 with a Grande Partenza in Budapest, but the race was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the start moved to Palermo on October 3.

RCS Sport has run the bulk of its slate of races since competition resumed in August, including Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo, Il Lombardia and the ongoing Tirreno-Adriatico, and Vegni expressed optimism that the rescheduled Giro would also be able to go ahead. Speaking to RAI television, Vegni noted that there may be restrictions on spectators at the Giro, adding that everything was contingent on the public health measures in place in Italy at that time.

“We’ll look to maintain a ‘bubble’ for teams, from start to finish. With many difficulties, I feel we’re going in the right direction,” Vegni said. “From here to October, the biggest worry is the evolution of health measures.”