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Jumbo-Visma pull out of Strade Bianche and GP Larciano over coronavirus concerns

Jumbo Visma Team of Netherlands pose before the start of the first stage of the UAE Tour from the Pointe to Silicon Oasis in Dubai on February 23 2020 Photo by Giuseppe CACACE AFP Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACEAFP via Getty Images
Jumbo-Visma at the UAE Tour, which was curtailed after an outbreak of coronavirus (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Jumbo-Visma announced that they will not participate in the upcoming Strade Bianche on March 7 and GP Larciano [Industria & Artigianato] on March 8 due to the risks involved with the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

The team confirmed that their decision was taken on medical advice and on the recommendation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as on sporting and practical grounds. 

"We know that any team that goes to Italy might probably be prevented from racing in any other country. The focus has to be on salvaging the bulk of the season, not a handful of races," a joint statement of cycling teams, including Team Jumbo-Visma, says. 

Mauro Vegni, the race director of Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo initially said the race would go ahead as planned. However, on Wednesday he said the races will be cancelled or possibly moved to June or September if the Italian government approves new, more stringent measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus across Italy.

Jumbo-Visma also noted that it's likely that the same decision will apply to other Italian races in March, which include Tirreno and San Remo.

The teams are awaiting messages from the Italian government and said that they are in close contact with the UCI. They will make a decision shortly.

Jumbo-Visma stated that medical advice and guidelines of the involved authorities will be taken into account before any decision about participation will be made.

"Together with the management of our team, I am constantly considering and acting in the interest of the health and working conditions of our riders and staff members," said Richard Plugge, general director of the team.

"That includes, for example, preventing them from quarantine abroad. We have to look at the broader picture and take responsibility for the health of riders, staff and fans."