Annemiek van Vleuten has expressed her disappointment at not being able to compete in the upcoming Strade Bianche on Saturday, a race she won last year, as it faces cancellation due to an outbreak of the coronavirus in Italy.
"No Strade Bianche for our team and for now no races till after 22nd of March. Read statement for more info [below in team press statement]," Van Vleuten posted on Twitter.
"Very sad because I was very much looking forward to race. Difficult decision to make but thanks Mitchelton-Scott for putting everyones health above all."
Mitchelton-Scott announced Wednesday that they have withdrawn both their men’s and women’s teams from all racing with immediate effect until at least March 22 in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Europe.
The decision means that the men’s team will be absent from races including Paris-Nice, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo. The women’s team will miss three Women's WorldTour races: Strade Bianche (March 7), Ronde van Drenthe (March 15) and Trofeo Binda (March 22) along with Danilith Nokere Koerse (March 18).
Shortly after Mitchelton-Scott made the announcement, the Italian government called a halt to all sporting and public events for a month, until April 3, in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19.
Van Vleuten had already begun her season with a victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last weekend. She was scheduled to race in select one-day races this spring with the next being Strade Bianche, where she had hoped to defend her title.
She is then scheduled to race Dwars door Vlaanderen on April 1 and the Tour of Flanders on April 5. She will then turn her attention to the Ardennes Classics: Amstel Gold Race on April 19, Flèche Wallonne on April 22 and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which she won last year, on April 26.
No @StradeBianche for our team and for now no races till after 22nd of March. Read statement for more info 👇. Very sad because I was very much looking forward to race. Difficult decision to make but thanks @MitcheltonSCOTT for putting everyones health above all. https://t.co/V7g56MUwyMMarch 4, 2020
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