Timeline coronavirus Italy: Soap seems to end, yet Sanremo on August 8

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The corona virus is slowly but surely dying out in Europe, cyclists can train outside again and the resumption of the cycling season is imminent. Read here the developments from Italy, with influence on the cycling world.

Note: the timeline is logically arranged chronologically, so you will find the latest update at the bottom.

02-22: Italy cancels events, cycling agenda on thin ice

On February 22, the first news came that cycling could become a victim of the corona virus in Italy. The Italian government has already taken several emergency measures. For example, several games in the Serie A were canceled from the program and with the rapidly approaching Italian spring, Milan-Sanremo could also be endangered.

Dutch media emergency measures were declared for the regions of Veneto and Lombardy. Capital of Lombardy is Milan, which is also the starting place of La Primavera. Outside the starting place, the rest of the course is outside the closed area. Furthermore, the Strade Bianche was not yet compromised in that set-up. That match takes place in the more southern Tuscany.

24-02: Vegni fears for spring, Lefevere does not panic

Mauro Vegni sat with her hands in her hair at the end of February. Important decisions were ahead for his RCS Sport, organizer of Milan-Sanremo and the Giro d’Italia, among others. In conversation with Corriere della Sera he expressed his concern about the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Plan B for Milan-Sanremo was and is not there. “It makes no sense to move the start twenty or fifty kilometers. I just hope that the peak decreases, ‘says Vegni. It would be the fourth time in the history of La Primavera that the match cannot go ahead. The other cases date from the First and Second World War.

Patrick Lefevere was a lot calmer at the time. According to Deceuninck-Quick-Step’s team boss, Italians have always been worried. “It’s not really a laugh, but David Bramati was there, too, and he was completely paranoia. Supermarkets that have empty shelves. Italians panic rather quickly, I refuse to participate. Many more people die from the flu than from the coronavirus, it is not said about. Of course that does not mean that we should not be prepared, but I hope the storm will subside soon, ‘Lefevere said opposite The last news.

In the rest of the pack, concerns were already expressed. Wout van Aert even changed his program. He decided to ride Omloop Het Nieuwsblad anyway, should the Strade Bianche and Milan-Sanremo be canceled. “We monitor the situation with great attention. It is clear that this situation can have a significant impact for cycling, ‘said Jumbo-Visma team leader Merijn Zeeman in the Algemeen Dagblad.

02-26: UCI waits quietly

The UCI remained flat for a long time. The cycling federation did throw some press releases into the world, but the message was always the same: “The UCI remains in close contact with the organizers of the international races and the health authorities of the countries,” was often read.

A decision on, for example, the Italian prices was not yet taken at that stage. The number of infected people in Italy meanwhile grew faster by the day and spread to the middle and south of the country. In Italian media, in addition to the Strade Bianche and Milan-Sanremo, the Giro d’Italia, which starts in May, is also being held.

28-02: UAE Tour hit, decision coming closer

On February 28, with the coronavirus now more than a week in the country, it was announced that the coronavirus had also entered the UAE Tour. And there were several riders and staff members who also participate in the Italian spring. There was no panic, rather resignation. From different angles it was soon heard that riders took cancellations into account.

The UCI has meanwhile been heard again, this time via Tom Van Damme, chairman of the road committee of the UCI. He said to Sporza that a decision might be taken on Monday 2 March on the fate of Italian rates in view of the corona outbreak in the country. “Many staff members are still stuck in the UAE Tour, so the question is whether they can travel to Italy in time,” he said. “But it is too early to say whether the prices will continue.”

02-03: Italian prices continue, or not?

On Monday, March 2, it became clear that the organizer of the Italian races just wants to continue with the races. All teams were notified by email. The problem was and still is: it is not up to the organizing party to decide whether events can take place. That decision is reserved for the various governments in the country. They are discussing this with the health authorities.

While the organization of the Italian spring was only ‘a blow to the arm’, it was soon heard from Italy that the government is even playing with the idea of ​​canceling all events in the country for a month. In this way, the government hopes to finally get the coronavirus under control. At this stage it was still a proposal by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

03-03: EF Education does not want to drive in Tuscany

While most teams immediately started packing their bags, not everyone responded to the decision to simply continue the Italian races. For example, Zeeman of Jumbo-Visma is concerned about a last-minute cancellation in the Algemeen Dagblad. “I hope the RCS is in contact with the authorities and agencies before they send us such a message. Because to manage this as a team is a huge challenge. The bicycles in Italy cannot come to Paris-Nice if things are decided at the last minute. ”

Until recently, other teams had a hit, but EF Education was the only one to take a stand on Tuesday-evening, March 3. The American WSJ reported that the US squad asked for leniency in a letter to UCI. The team does not want to participate in the Italian races, for fear of the corona virus. However, since the competitions have WorldTour status, there is a starting obligation. The UCI can impose a fine if a team does not show up.

04-03: Team doctors write open letter, Vegni is already looking for new data

A lot happened on Wednesday 4 March. Doctors of no less than fourteen teams took matters into their own hands and indicated that cycling in Italy is not smart at the moment. In The newspapaer they sounded the alarm: “This is the most responsible intervention: for the riders, but also for general health,” according to an open letter to the organization. According to these teams, there should be a streak through Strade Bianche, the Tirreno and Milan-Sanremo. Deceuninck-Quick-Step is a striking name that was missing from the protest.

“At the moment there is a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19. That is why it is necessary to draw up clear plans in advance for all possible scenarios. And that is not currently the case. Few sports come into such close contact with the public as cycling. In addition, spring is also the period in which riders can suffer from fever or breathing problems. What will happen if a rider develops symptoms during one of the upcoming races? ‘, They ask aloud.

The teams shouted for clarity from the UCI, but it was not yet on Wednesday. For that reason, several teams took matters into their own hands. Jumbo-Visma and Mitchelton-Scott, among others, announced that they would avoid Italy in March. Groupama-FDJ joined in the evening. Circus-Wanty Gobert was one of the few teams that already traveled to Italy. “If it does not go through, it will be a weekend in Italy without a course and with training,” said the team. The organization is waiting for signals from the government. Boss Mauro Vegni already said in the media that he wants to search for new dates for the Strade Bianche, the Tirreno and Milan-Sanremo. According to him, there are options after the Giro or in September.

05-03: Italy makes last attempt

In Italy, Thursday morning, people had not yet resigned to the cancellation of the Italian rates in March. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport they even thought about a Strade Bianche without an audience. That would mean people should stay away from the trail and no people would be welcome in the square in Siena, Piazza del Campo.

On Thursday at 11 am, the parties involved met with each other, with the result that after an hour the Strade Bianche will in any case not take place on Saturday. The Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo would be decided later. RCS Sport has made a request to the UCI to overtake the Strade Bianche later in the year. At that time, it was already expected that the decision of the government to let all sport events play without an audience until April 3, also had to move the Tirreno and Milan-Sanremo.

06-03: Relocation Milan-Sanremo and Tirreno problem

Although the organization had done everything possible to prevent it, the organization of the Italian races had to look for new dates for the three major Italian spring races. On Friday afternoon, it was announced that after the Strade Bianche, the Tirreno and Milan-Sanremo had also been canceled. The Tour of Sicily and the Coppi e Bartali also had to look for a new date.

Paolo Bellino, CEO of RCS Sport, left on Friday morning La Gazzetta dello Sport know that it is practically very difficult to move the Tirreno and Milan-Sanremo. “We work hard and do everything possible, right down to the last.” There are several options for Strade Bianche: after the Giro, before the Giro di Sicilia in April or even after the Tour of Lombardy in October. Rescheduling the Tirreno-Adriatico on the crowded cycling calendar is becoming a problem. RCS Sport hopes to take the place of a race in difficulty or to work with overlap.

11-03: Giro d’Italia gets nervous, Nibali calls on fellow countrymen

After the cancellation of all Italian races in March, it was quiet for the corona virus on the cycling calendar, but since the entire country was locked on Monday March 9 by Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte, people were again seriously concerned about the Giro d Italia. On Wednesday March 11, thousands of infections and hundreds of deaths were reported in Italy.

According to BiciTV, it is even forbidden in the country for recreational cycling, Conte has taken serious measures. “We are dealing with a serious increase in infections, an increase in people who have to be hospitalized in intensive care and unfortunately also people who die. We need to change our way of life right now. ” UCI boss David Lappartient called a possible cancellation of the Giro on Tuesday March 10 ‘a disaster’. Giro boss Mauro Vegni already called it ‘a difficult situation’. The Giro will start in Budapest on 9 May, two months from now.

From Paris-Nice, the great Italian stars from the pack called their fellow countrymen on Wednesday March 11 to listen to the strict regulations of the government. Vincenzo Nibali and Elia Viviani called on Twitter to respect each other, under the banner of #DISTANTIMAUNITI (together, but with distance). “I can only hope that the situation will improve. I ask everyone to respect the guidelines of the authorities. Be responsible to yourself and others, ”said Nibali. That’s what Viviani said, “It’s hard to stay focused in the race when my country is going through a difficult time. I am sure we will overcome this period. ”

12-03: Capecchi calls on riders, Giro can be moved

Vincenzo Nibali and Elia Viviani still focused on the Italians in their own country on Wednesday, according to Eros Capecchi, the entire cycling community should think about the corona virus. “I am very happy with the decision taken by the Italian government. But we must all respect these rules, not just the Italians. The virus knows no bounds, we have to be a team. We must be respectful, help the doctors and set an example for our countries. Wash your hands, avoid contact with face, mouth and eyes and even if the government of your country has not imposed any restrictions; stay at home!’

Meanwhile, a state of emergency was declared in Hungary on Thursday. That meant that people coming from Italy, South Korea, China or Iran would be refused entry to the border. Other people who have traveled or are still traveling to the country must be in home quarantine for two weeks. Hungary will host the first three stages in the Giro d’Italia in May. RCS boss Mauro Vegni took Thursday seriously a date shift of his Giro. He told that opposite Adkronos. “However, it is too early for decisions, but rescheduling the Giro is possible. I think the whole calendar will be turned upside down, but it will be a big puzzle. We have to wait and see for now. ”

13-03: Giro d’Italia postponed

It became clear early on Friday, March 13, that the Giro d’Italia would be postponed in 2020. Hungary declared a state of emergency earlier in March and was already in talks with the Giro organization. Together, the two parties bet on a different start date. The question is when that will be. Italy has already postponed three games with Strade Bianche, Milan-Sanremo and the Tirreno.

16-03: Tour of the Alps next victim

The Tour of the Alps also received bad news on Monday March 16. In a official statement informed the organizers of the competition that they have no other option than to cancel the coronavirus. “It is difficult for us, and for many organizations with the same problems, but we are going through a seriously difficult time. General health is paramount in this. ‘

17-03: ‘New date for Giro will be very difficult’

Where the organization of the Giro previously announced that it would not only be necessary to move the round, it was also possible, according to The newspapaer yet different. According to the Belgian medium, the UCI would not allow the Giro to overlap with other rounds such as the Dauphiné or the Tour of Switzerland. Since there is no empty spot of three weeks on the World Tour agenda, the Giro could therefore not be fitted anywhere.

Normally the UCI would indeed not be eager for that overlap, but if that means cancellation of the Giro, maybe they are doing something else? It will likely be announced on Tuesday, March 24, after the UCI holds a large meeting on the whole situation.

25-03: ‘Organization Giro wants to start on national holiday, June 2’

It may have been against my better judgment, but The newspapaer reported on Wednesday March 25 that Giro organizer RCS wants to start the Giro d’Italia of 2020 on the Italian national holiday. The Italian Republic was proclaimed on June 2, 1946, and it would now also be a symbolic start after the corona crisis.

The start date still had to be approved by the Italian government, which already seemed very unlikely. If the Giro is already ridden this year, it will probably only be after the Tour de France. However, everything seems uncertain during this period.

01-04: Giro wants to go to August if Tour continues

Procrastination, procrastination, procrastination. The Giro organization remained busy finding a new date for the Tour of Italy. When it turned out to be too early at the end of May, the beginning of June was looked at, but that too seems too fast now. Renato Di Rocco of the Italian Cycling Federation then targeted August, the report said The newspapaer on the 1st of April.

This plan was only possible if the Tour de France would indeed continue in July. The Giro would then take place almost immediately after the Tour. “The rebirth of a sport can spark a wave of enthusiasm and revival of a people,” said Di Rocco.

10-04: Italian pros are also not allowed to train outside in April

The Italian pros were also not allowed to go outside in April. That was the result of a consultation between the Italian cycling federation and the Italian Minister of Sport. In conversation with Il Messaggero Union president Renato Di Rocco said the corona virus caused a longer lockdown. The conversation between the two parties also revealed that there may be no more cycling in Italy in 2021. “There are still too many contaminations in the north, where most sports clubs and professional riders live.”

“We are working hard to reduce infections and the number of deaths, and that is only possible by staying at home. Professional riders will probably be able to resume their activities outside after 3 May ‘, says Di Rocco. At the beginning of April people were not thinking about races in Italy. “We don’t know how the virus will develop, but we must be prepared to give up races for the good of the community. Unfortunately, dropping the Giro is one of the options, but that applies to all races in Europe. ”

12-04: ‘Giro possibly in October’, Italian championship postponed

The president of the Italian cycling federation, Renato Di Rocco, saw a shift from the Giro d’Italia to October on April 12 as a possible solution in these corona times. According to him, it would in any case not be possible to organize a race for July, so that the Italian big round should divert to a moment later in the year. He adjusted Tuttobici that the organizer of the Giro, RCS, then had to agree with the organizations of the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. The UCI also had to cooperate, as there might be an overlap with the World Cup.

Reported later in the day Spaziociclismo that the Italian cycling championship was postponed due to the corona virus. The championship was scheduled for June 14-21. The decision to postpone the national championship was far from unexpected given the current situation in Italy. The organization would try to find a new date on the calendar.

23-04: National coach Italy begs to train outside

Davide Cassani begged the Italian government in the media on April 23 to let his elite athletes cycle outside again. “I say this for the sailors, who are desperate for a safe haven,” the Italian says with a sense of poetry on his Facebook page. “For the people in power, try to understand that every resistance has a limit and that we are almost reaching this limit.”

“We are now kept on a leash like dogs, with the leash tight around the neck. We have no space and no air. I was the first to say that we should respect orders from above. The drastic measures were necessary during this disaster. But the worst is over and I ask for confirmation: can we go outside? I don’t see any danger in doing a solo ride on a bicycle. We have to be careful, even more than before. Respect distances, keep a mask handy and pay close attention. Sport is fundamental, especially in times of the coronavirus. ”

In his appeal, Cassani partly based on a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) that indicated that cycling or walking outside is good. “While cities around the world are introducing rules to limit physical contact and stop the coronavirus, there are still many people who need to move to work, for daily needs, or to support vulnerable people. Grab the bike or go for a walk. This ensures a physical distance and thus you meet the minimum daily physical activity, ‘wrote WHO.

24-04: ‘Italians are allowed to go out on bicycles again’

Good news for the Italian cyclists on Friday April 24. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the time has finally come: cyclists will be allowed to go outside from 4 May. As in many other countries where cycling is allowed, the cyclists have to go alone or just with the person you live with. Keep at least two meters away from others, preferably more than less, the instruction reads.

27-04: Outdoor sports in Italy are allowed again from May 4

In Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has ‘phase 2’ of the corona measures announced. He said in a television speech that the measures will be relaxed from May 4. Outdoor sports are allowed again.

Conte’s announcement matches the news La Gazzetta dello Sport last week. Only the date falls two days later than the Italian sports newspaper reported. One still has to keep to the two meter distance. The professional clubs will also start training again from 18 May, according to the announcement.

12-05: Italian cycling federation wants Milan-Sanremo and Tour of Lombardy in August

Right away press release the Italian Cycling Federation and the Professional Cycling League announced on May 12 that they have sent a new concept of the cycling calendar to the UCI. The new schedule aims to reduce international travel. On the new calendar, the Tour of Lombardy will be held on August 8 and Milan-Sanremo on August 22. Milan-Sanremo was previously held on August 8. The UCI decides before 14 May what happens to the Italian prices. Below the new new overview, as submitted to the UCI.

August
01/08: Strade Bianche
05/08: Milan-Turin
08/08: Tour of Lombardy
8/18: Giro dell’Emilia
20-08: Gran Piedmont
22-08: Milan-Sanremo
28.08: Trofeo Matteotti
29/08: Pantani Memorial
31 / 08-04 / 09: Settimana Coppi & Bartali

September
05/09: Gp Industria e Artigianato Larciano
07 / 09-14 / 09: Tirreno-Adriatico
16/09: Giro di Toscana
17/09: Coppa Sabatini
20/09: Giro dell’Appennino
22/09: Regione Lombardia

October
03 / 10-25 / 10: Giro d’Italia
31 / 10-01-11: National championships

06-06: ‘Sicily and Hungary change year’

A large round in different countries makes the organization even more difficult than it already is. That is why it was already known that this year’s Giro would not start in Hungary. Tuttobici claimed on June 6 that that start will take place in 2021, while the Giro start in Sicily is going the opposite way. Also there are still the necessary hooks and eyes.

09-06: ‘New dates for monuments agreed’

According to La Gazetta dello Sport On June 9, the UCI agreed to the new dates for the Italian races, as proposed by the Italian Cycling Federation. That would mean the Tour of Lombardy would be held on August 8, the original date of Milan-Sanremo. The latter monument would then move to August 15.

August 22 for Sanremo was the idea of ​​organizer RCS Sports, but during that weekend the UCI did not want to deviate from the national championships. Many countries, however, have already indicated that there will be no NK in August.

12-06: Big chair dance in Italy seems to be over

On June 12, there was finally white smoke from Italy, it seemed. Il Messaggero reported on Thursday evening that Milan-Sanremo will eventually be held on August 8. The Tour of Lombardy, which had already been moved from October to August, then goes to August 15.

It is the result of much criticism from Italy on the decision to drive Milan-Sanremo on August 15. The mayor of Sanremo was not happy with that decision because in mid-August the tourist flow in southern Italy got full steam ahead.

RCS Sports, organizer of the Italian races, states in the person of Renato Di Rocco that the compromise now found has been accepted by everyone. (Photo: Sirotti, 2019)

To be continued…

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