The Giro d’Italia suffered another blow on Thursday as EF Pro Cycling canvassed organisers and teams to get the race stopped early due to the coronavirus situation.
The Grand Tour was already reeling from the withdrawals of Mitchelton-Scott and Team Jumbo-Visma on Tuesday after positive Covid-19 cases, with doubts surfacing over whether the race can make it to the finish in Milan on October 25.
In a letter seen by Eurosport, and published in full below, EF say there is a “clearly compromised bubble” and called for the race to end when the second rest day arrives on October 19. The UCI's response is also detailed below.
- Exclusive: EF Pro Cycling call for Giro to be stopped early
- Watch our full coverage of this story on The Breakaway, on Eurosport Player
- Exclusive: 'We’re not threatening to leave the race' - EF Pro Cycling boss
Full EF Pro Cycling statement
Dear RCS, UCI, Stakeholders and Teams,
Thank you for your efforts to produce a safe and compelling Giro d’Italia. We have enjoyed our team at the race so far.
Unfortunately, given the news of:
- Reportedly 11 positive tests across four teams within the peloton ‘bubble’
- Estimated positivity rate of ~2%, which feels too high in a population that should be protected, asymptomatic, and with an extremely low positivity rate
- An outbreak across teams within the peloton
- With a clearly compromised bubble and an expected lag between exposure and symptoms/positives, it must be expected that further illness will result. This is not a given, but the precautionary principle would suggest we act responsibly and adopt a conservative approach
For the health and safety of riders, staff, and the communities through which we race, we recommend that the Giro be stopped early. We believe it would be better for the Giro and the UCI World Tour should this be done in a systematic, holistic way versus a chaotic withdrawal on a team by team basis. The second rest day seems a natural break in the race to declare winners and a successful 2020 Giro d’Italia. In the meantime, we support the idea of:
At least two systematic Covid tests before that rest day and an earlier close to the race if additional tests return positive prior to the rest day
- Properly sealing off the team paddocks in both the start and finish areas and to reinforce safety of the teams in the hotels.
- While we hope to remain in the race until an official early finish, should anyone on our team test positive or should the riders and staff grow uncomfortable with the situation, we will leave the race at that time and would, of course, give you as much notice as possible.
Thank you for your consideration and continued attention to this situation.
Vaughters exclusive: 'We’re not threatening to leave the race'
However, the UCI, world cycling's governing body, refused the proposal in a letter also seen by Eurosport.
They confirmed they will perform a general screening for all teams on Thursday and Friday.
In the letter signed by president David Lappartient, the UCI said Giro organisers RCS have “committed to implementing the measures to secure the race bubble, while every individual on the race plays a role in representing the fundamental principles for reducing risk (social distancing, wearing masks).
“With these measures, we trust in everyone’s cooperation in the common goal of continuing our sport in the safest possible conditions. The outcome of these measures will be closely monitored throughout the continuation of the event and for any additional measures.”