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Viviani: The important thing is that cycling starts up again

Elia Viviani at Paris-Nice.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Elia Viviani (Cofidis) has expressed hope that riders in Italy will be permitted to train on the road again as soon as lockdown restrictions begin to be eased. Italy has been in a state of lockdown since March 9 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The current confinement is due to be expire on May 4 and there are reports that the country will gradually ease some restrictions in the weeks that follow.

“I’d like to point out that we, the riders, aren’t a danger to anyone. Cycling stopped to avoid increasing the pressure that was already on the hospitals, not because this virus is spread by cyclists,” Viviani said, according to L’Équipe.

“This situation can be resolved with strict rules, for example that everyone has to go out alone. Riders could train on the road for a few hours. We could do normal training sessions and avoid being a danger to others. This is the most important thing. That’s why I think it’s time to start again.”

Paris-Nice was the last event to take place before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the season and all competition is suspended until at least July 1, while the WorldTour will not resume before August 1.

The UCI has drawn up the outline of a revised calendar for the Autumn, with the Tour de France rescheduled for August 29-September 20, the Giro d’Italia pencilled in for October and the Vuelta a España moved to November. RTBF has reported that three of the postponed Monuments have been provisionally fixed for October, during the notional dates for a rescheduled Giro.

Viviani declared himself enthusiastic about the prospect of racing once again in the Autumn, though he noted that, in a redrawn and condensed racing calendar, riders would be compelled to forgo events that they would otherwise have ridden.

“I don’t think that anyone is going to ride the three Grand Tours,” Viviani said. “It might be that riders don’t even do two of those races, given the situation. Maybe some will, but I think the important thing is that the races take place. I enthusiastically welcome the resumption of competition, even if some events on the calendar will clash.”

The Italian is in his first season at Cofidis, where he had initially planned a busy schedule that would have seen him ride the Giro in May and the Tour in July before he focused on defending his omnium title at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He was also due to ride Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders in the Spring.

Those events were all postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic – the Olympics have been put back to 2021 – and Viviani is mindful that he will have to pick and choose his objectives if competition does resume in the Autumn.

“I’d love to participate in the Tour of Flanders but maybe I’ll have to skip it in favour of the Giro,” Viviani said. “Athletes have to make those kinds of decisions this season. Next year, everything will be back to normal. The most important thing is that cycling starts up again, for the teams, the riders and the organisers. I’m ready.”