In what can only be considered good news for the Giro d’Italia, an additional round of COVID tests on October 15 and 16 revealed no new positive cases. The news came via a joint press release from the UCI and Giro organizers RCS Sport, and provides new hope that the race will actually finish in Milan on October 25 as planned.
The additional tests on all of the 20 teams present at this year’s Giro were added after numerous riders and staff tested positive on the previous tests during the rest day this past Monday. And many feared that the peloton’s bubble had popped.
Simon Yates left the race after testing positive on stage 8, and his entire Mitchelton – Scott team withdrew after posting four more positive results within the team on the rest day when they were tested. Michael Matthews (Sunweb) also withdrew after testing positive on the rest day, and the entire Jumbo – Visma team opted to withdraw when its leader Steven Kruisjwijk also tested positive.
In addition, numerous riders and teams have criticized the race’s sanitary protocol, specifically insufficient social distancing measures at the team hotels.
On Thursday’s stage to Cesenastico, Belgian Thomas De Gendt said that he “no longer felt safe” at the race, while it was revealed that Jonathan Vaughters, general manager of EF Pro Cycling, wrote a letter to the UCI asking the race to be halted. That request was denied.
Meanwhile Giro d’Italia boss Mauro Vegni has adamantly defended the event. Speaking of the sanitary measures at this year’s Giro Vegni said after stage 12 in Cesenastico. “They’re the same measures that were adopted by all the organizers of a certain level. These are the same measures that were used in other races, so I don’t see why the Giro should be seen as worse than others.”
“On the first rest day, we had eight positives. How many were there in other places? We’re in October, the trend is going upwards. Today there were almost 9,000 cases in Italy so obviously there’s a bit more stress than there was in August.”
But the recent tests will serve to quell the growing uncertainty. But not for long, as a new round of testing is scheduled on Monday’s rest day. If, however, the current trend follows, then the Giro should have a clearer path to Milan.