Italian cycling team Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM have launched a stinging attack on EF Pro Cycling and urged them to “leave the Giro d’Italia” for campaigning to halt the race early.
Eurosport broke the news on Thursday that EF had written to teams, organisers RCS and the UCI to suggest stopping the Grand Tour after Sunday’s stage to Piancavallo due to the uncertain coronavirus situation.
However, the proposal was quickly dismissed by the UCI, while race director Mauro Vegni called on cycling and the community “to have the courage to go on”.
Now Vini Zabu boss Luca Scinto has waded in to slam EF for their letter, saying they should be “ashamed”.
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“They don’t show respect to the Giro d’Italia and to cycling,” said Vini Zabu manager Luca Scinto.
“This is a very complicated moment. We have to fight against Covid in every way we can. Now and in 2021.
“Why did these teams say nothing during the Tour de France? When France was close to 20,000 new cases each day? A race where some team members were found positive for Covid.
“No one said anything, now they come here to the Giro d’Italia and create chaos.
“If I was them I’d be ashamed because they should pay respect to the Giro d’Italia and to their sponsors and of the teams that want to arrive to Milan.”
Mitchelton-Scott and Team Jumbo-Visma have already withdrawn from the Giro due to positive Covid cases, while there were 11 positive tests across five teams on the first rest day.
Italy has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with 8,804 new infections announced on Thursday.
Vaughters exclusive: 'We’re not threatening to leave the race'
“How can they write these things? I’m not ashamed of saying this. Even if we are a small team and I’m no one, I think they should be ashamed,” continued Scinto.
“We have to fight against the virus. Maybe today or tomorrow I will test positive, or even one of my riders, be we have to fight against it.
“And there should be more respect for the Giro d’Italia. If we get to Milan, it will be a great example and whoever wrote this should leave the Giro. They better go away.”
The Giro continues with Stage 13 on Friday and a 192km trip from Cervia to Monselice.