How the Coronavirus Is Impacting Pro Cycling

Funride Wolrd Champs is done and dusted - time, then, to flop in front of the telly and watch some pro racing from Europe. Hold on...


By Jessica Coulon |

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, pro cycling is ever-increasingly feeling its effects. Also known as COVID-19, the coronavirus has reached over 100 000 cases worldwide with high concentrations in China, where it originated, South Korea, Iran, and Italy.

Coronavirus has caused quite a few races to be canceled or postponed. Team doctors have urged the UCI and race organizers to consider canceling or rescheduling others, especially those in hard-hit regions. The Italian spring classics have been among those most impacted so far, especially since all sporting events in Italy are now called off until April 3.

Currently, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has decided to proceed with upcoming races as scheduled until otherwise noted by race organisers.

“Any possible decision to cancel will be taken by the health authorities in the concerned regions depending on the evolution of the local situation and different risk factors identified,” the UCI stated in a press release on March 4.

Regardless of what race organisers and health officials decide, some teams have already decided to sit out of certain, or all, races for the next few weeks. Team Ineos has decided to withhold from racing until March 23 (also to cope with the recent loss of their sports director, Nicolas Portal), Mitchelton-Scott won’t be racing until March 22, and Astana will also refrain until March 20.

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For the races that will continue, the UCI stated that organisers must take greater precaution for the safety of cyclists and other team members by: “increasing the distance between the public and riders, particularly in the start and finish zones; respecting a strict medical protocol, variable depending on the country, but in any case including a process for dealing with suspected cases and the provision of a detailed map of establishments capable of carrying out diagnostic tests for the coronavirus; limiting the number of teams staying in each hotel; respecting certain hygiene measures, for example avoiding the use of the same pen by riders signing in at the beginning of the race.”

Here are some of the bigger races that have been impacted by the coronavirus so far.


Tour of Hainan

  • Scheduled date: February 23 to March 1
  • Status: Postponed

Part of UCI’s ProSeries, the Tour of Hainan was one of the first races to be postponed over coronavirus concerns. The decision was announced almost a month before the stage race was set to begin.

UAE Tour

  • Scheduled date: February 23 to 29
  • Status: Canceled

The race in Abu Dhabi was canceled two days early following stage 5 on February 27, after two Italian staff members were diagnosed with the coronavirus. This prompted a quarantine for all teams staying at the Crown Plaza hotel. Those who tested negative were able to leave, except for the three teams (who shared the same floor as those who were diagnosed): Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ, and Gazprom.

Six additional coronavirus cases were then discovered on March 3, in relation to the race. Following that development, the three teams were informed by the UCI that they must remain in quarantine until March 14.

Strade Bianche

  • Scheduled date: March 7
  • Status: Postponed

Race organiser RCS Sport announced on March 5 that it is postponing the Strade Bianche and the Strade Bianche Women Elite, which were set to take place on March 7 in Siena, Italy. RCS Sport has asked the UCI to reschedule both the men’s and women’s races, but no new dates are currently set.

Paris-Nice

  • Scheduled date: March 8 to 15
  • Status: On

Paris-Nice has not been canceled as of March 5, as confirmed by a statement from race organizer A.S.O. However, quite a few UCI WorldTeams will notably be absent, including Team Ineos, Astana, UAE Team Emirates, Mitchelton Scott, Jumbo-Visma, CCC Team, and Movistar. To offset these absences, A.S.O. extended invitations to ProTeams B&B Hotels-Vital Concept and Circus-Wanty Gobert. They’ve also increased the team size from seven to eight riders.

Tirreno-Adriatico

  • Scheduled date: March 11 to 17
  • Status: Postponed

RCS Sport announced on March 6 that it will postpone the Tirreno-Adriatico. The WorldTour race takes place in central Italy. (Italy is a current coronavirus hotspot.)

Milan-San Remo

  • Scheduled date: March 21
  • Status: Postponed

RCS Sport announced on March 6 that it will postpone the Milan-San Remo. Considered one of the five “Monuments” (the most prestigious, one-day races in road cycling), the WorldTour race takes place in northwest Italy.

Giro di Sicilia

  • Scheduled date: April 1 to 4
  • Status: Postponed

RCS Sport also announced on March 6 that it will postpone the Giro di Sicilia. The race, which is on the UCI’s Continental Circuits calendar, takes place in Sicily, Italy.

Sea Otter Classic

  • Scheduled date: April 15 to 19
  • Status: Postponed

This combination industry trade show, festival, and race series for professional and amateur cyclists alike takes place outside Monterrey, California. Organisers expect new dates to be set by next week.

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