More warning signs for the Giro d’Italia and its race to arrive to Milano.
According to a report in TuttoBici, some 17 motorcycle police that chaperone the e-bike event at the Giro have tested positive for COVID-19. The officers are now in isolation and were asymptomatic, yet tested positive during rest-day controls Monday.
Giro race officials told TuttoBici that none of the police that work directly on the elite men’s pro race tested positive. Race officials also pointed out that the e-bike event, a parallel race featuring electronic bikes, runs ahead of the pro race each day, and that the event has its own police operation that work separately and stay in different hotels from the larger Giro entourage.
The latest news comes on the heels of disruption to the Giro this week after the race caravan returned eight positive tests of COVID-19, including star riders Michael Matthews (Sunweb) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma). Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma both later pulled out of the Giro. According to one report, Matthews later tested negative in a follow-up control conducted by his team.
Though Giro officials were quick to point out that the e-bike entourage travels separately from the larger Giro caravan, the new wave of positives will mean more nerves for the race. Riders have already expressed concerns about the hotel situation early in the Giro and the possible exposure to the highly contagious virus.
Giro boss Mauro Vegni downplayed the COVID-19 positives earlier this week, insisting that the health situation is under control and that the Giro will continue as planned. A new round of controls is scheduled for Monday.
The Giro later released this statement:
“With reference to the stories that appeared in the press relating to the coronavirus status of Polizia Stradale officers at the Giro d’Italia, it must be highlighted that the reported cases only concern personnel exclusively engaged in the escort at the Giro-E, an event with organization, logistics, hotels, timetables and starting locations completely separate from those of the Giro d’Italia.
“It was found that the cluster would have originated in the technical escort team. As for the escort policemen on the Giro d’Italia, who follow autonomous prophylaxis dynamics, the recent COVID tests carried out have all returned negative responses.”
Speaking to Sporza before the start of Thursday’s stage, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) expressed concern about the health situation in Italy.
“I thought it was much safer in the Tour. I never felt unsafe there at any point. But I have the feeling that the organization is hiding things and giving it a twist,” De Gendt said. “There is a lot of money involved and for sponsors, it is very important that we go to Milan. They are waiting for the government to make a decision, and those decisions come too late. I don’t have the balls right now to say I won’t keep racing, but it might soon come to that.”
Nairo Quintana to undergo knee surgery
Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) will undergo knee surgery in the coming days, according to media reports.
The Colombian star crashed heavily when he was struck by a vehicle this summer while training in Colombia. Quintana went on to race the Tour de France, but could not perform at his top level, and finished 17th at more than one hour behind winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Emirates).
“We’ve put an end to the season,” said Quintana, who also crashed during the Tour. “The recovery hasn’t been easy. The left knee has a ruptured patella, and we’ll have surgery as soon as possible to be as strong as possible next season.”