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Mathieu van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix team withdraw from Sibiu Tour

LAGOS PORTUGAL FEBRUARY 19 Mathieu Van Der Poel of The Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix during the 46th Volta ao Algarve 2020 Stage 1 a 1956km stage from Portimo to Lagos VAlgarve2020 on February 19 2020 in Lagos Portugal Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Van der Poel at the 2020 Volta ao Algarve (Image credit: Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel is set to start his season at Strade Bianche on August 1 after his Alpecin-Fenix team decided to withdraw from the Sibiu Tour.

The move comes after the Dutch Foreign Ministry labelled Romania as an 'orange zone', advising "only necessary travel" to the country. Travellers returning from the country to the Netherlands are required to enter home quarantine for 14 days.

As a result, Alpecin-Fenix management and medical staff have decided against taking part in the race, which will run from July 23-26. Two WorldTour teams, Bora-Hasgrohe and Israel Start-Up Nation, are still set to take part.

"Together with our medical staff and the local organizing committee, we closely monitored the situation," read a statement issued by Alpecin-Fenix management.

"Unfortunately, we had to conclude travelling to Romania is not an option. The health of our riders, staff members but also public health is of primary importance. We want to strictly follow all recommendations to eliminate any risk.

"We would like to express our gratitude towards the local organizing committee for their understanding and their cooperation over the last couple of weeks."

Van der Poel will now return to racing at Strade Bianche, making his debut at the race, before racing Milano-Torino, Milan-San Remo, Gran Piemonte and Il Lombardia in August.

"It is an unfortunate but understandable decision," said Van der Poel. "We added the Sibiu Cycling Tour to my program in order to get extra race rhythm ahead of Strade Bianche.

"However, I experience during our high-altitude camp in La Plagne, physically, I’m right on schedule. In that way, I can start my Italian program with a good feeling. I am definitely looking forward to race again."

Van der Poel will race Tirreno-Adriatico in September ahead of the rescheduled 'spring' Classics – La Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Amstel Gold Race, the Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix.