Last week, Matteo Trentin (CCC Team) was at a training camp in Spain and held out a glimmer of hope that the Spring Classics would still take place. However, within a matter of days the coronavirus pandemic has spread through Europe at an alarming rate with borders closed and countries put under lockdown.
Not surprisingly, cycling races have been canceled, as mass gatherings and sporting events have been scrapped by governments and local authorities.
"To be honest it’s really chaotic. Now people are realizing that this isn’t just a problem for one set of people, but that it’s a problem for everyone,” Trentin told Cyclingnews.
“We need more cohesion in Europe and more cohesion in general in order to solve this. We can consider this as one of the biggest problems, ever. Until this virus comes close you don’t really believe it, but as an Italian, I live pretty close to my contacts and family. The problem is that it’s a sickness that can create a lot of problems.”
With the Spring Classics either cancelled or potentially postponed, and the Giro d’Italia scrambling for an alternative date, Trentin has advised everyone to follow the measures in place within their own countries and cities.
Most countries across the European zone have called on citizens not to participate in mass gatherings, while Italy and Spain have put people under further restrictions with professional riders allowed to train outdoors in Italy but not in Spain due to insurance concerns.
Trentin, who is the vice-president of the Italian riders’ association, called on riders of all levels to respect the measures put in place by their respective governments. “These are things in the western world that are difficult to understand but I think everyone needs to accept. It’s for the good of everyone,” he said.
“For example in Belgium and Holland they didn’t have too many cases before but now from one day to the next, it looks like everything is coming closer to your family and your loved ones. Then you start to think about it and trying to protect you and your family. It’s a really difficult situation but it goes beyond sport and beyond cycling.”
With the priority now on public health, the world of professional cycling has been put into perspective as it takes a back seat to greater issues. The next few weeks and months are certain to see little to no racing activity across the globe with timescales on a revised calendar based on little more than vague predictions.
“It’s really difficult,” Trentin admitted.
“As a rider and as a fan of cycling I always hope that we can wake up tomorrow and this was all a joke but that won’t happen. We just need to get through it day by day and get through it so that the virus doesn’t spread too much. No one could predict this was going to happen two weeks ago, so predicting where we are in two months is impossible.”