COVID-19 outbreak at the Giro d’Italia: Filippo Ganna is the latest to leave
UPDATED: Italia star is the latest rider to leave with an infection since the start of the Italian grand tour.
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UPDATED: Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-EasyPost) both left the Giro d’Italia following positive controls after stage 9 on May 14.
Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), heavily favored for victory in Sunday’s time trial, is out of the Giro d’Italia with COVID-19.
The Italian is the latest rider to leave the Italian grand tour with a coronavirus diagnosis, team officials confirmed Saturday morning.
“Filippo Ganna will regrettably not line up to contest today’s stage 8 of the 2023 Giro, after testing positive for COVID-19 and displaying mild, flu-like symptoms,” a team note read. “Filippo will now rest and recover fully before resuming his remaining 2023 race program.”
Ganna, one of Italy’s top stars, is the fourth confirmed COVID case so far in this Giro (see more below). A handful more tested positive before the Giro started and were replaced with healthy riders.
Teams are on the alert, and more riders and staffers are seen wearing masks. Team doctors are closely monitoring their respective crews, and squads are bringing back some of the mitigation steps as it appears there is an uptick of cases within the peloton.
There are no longer race-mandated screenings, but each team is carrying out its own internal health checks. Riders who test positive are not required to leave the race, and team doctors make the decision based on team protocols and after consultations with staffers and the rider.
Teammate Geraint Thomas, speaking to reporters at the start of the stage, said he will miss Ganna’s big engine in the second half of the Giro.
“It’s disappointing. Ganna was an important link in the team, he has already brought me back into the peloton twice this Giro after I had bad luck,” Thomas told Sporza. “It is very unfortunate. We just have to do everything we can regarding hygiene. I’m not going to a disco anyway, right now.”
Thomas confirmed that he rode a gondola down off Gran Sasso after Friday’s stage and was packed into the cabin with his teammates.
“We were all crammed into it,” he said. “We had masks on, but there was nothing else we could do.”
Two more COVID cases strike the Giro d’Italia — is the virus back?
Posted Friday, May 12: Two more riders are leaving the Giro d’Italia with COVID-19, sending a sense of dread across the bunch just as the peloton pedals into its first decisive mountain stage in the Italia grand tour.
Alpecin-Deceuninck rider Nicola Conci and Giovanni Aleotti (Bora-Hansgrohe) will not start Friday’s seventh stage after being diagnosed with COVID-19, team officials confirmed.
“[Aleotti] will not start today’s Giro stage as he tested positive for COVID,” Bora-Hansgrohe officials said. “He showed some symptoms after the stage and was immediately isolated from the rest of the team. We wish him a speedy recovery.”
They are the second and third riders to leave the 2023 Giro with coronavirus since the grand tour started May 7.
French rider Clément Russo also left the Giro on Thursday, casting a chill on Arkéa-Samsic’s Giro debut after the team bounced into the WorldTour in 2023, and raising wider concerns inside the bunch.
We are sorry to announce that @nikconci will not start in the 7th stage of the @giroditalia. Our 26-year-old Italian tested positive for COVID this morning. We wish him a good recovery! #AlpecinDeceuninck #Giro #Giro106 #NicolaConci pic.twitter.com/hrUOWHSGEp
— Alpecin-Deceuninck Cycling Team (@AlpecinDCK) May 12, 2023
Even before the Giro started, several riders were KO’d due to a late spurt of COVID-19 infections.
Several high-profile names missed planned Giro starts due to infections, including Robert Gesink, Tobias Foss, and Jos van Emden of pre-race favorites Jumbo-Visma.
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The team was forced to replace five of its planned eight starters ahead of the Giro due to illness and injuries.
“It’s not an ideal way to start the Giro,” said team captain Primož Roglič at the start of the Giro. “We have to be careful and stay healthy. We might have to go back to some of the safety measures we did before. Not getting sick is the most important thing.”
Trek-Segafredo lost its top GC man Giulio Ciccone to COVID-19, with Henri Vandenabeele (Team DSM) and Gino Mäder (Bahrain-Victorious) also revealing infections.
Teams are stepping up controls and safety measures within the ranks.
So far, the Giro is operating without a revival of the health or safety measures that were introduced in the wake of the 2020 outbreak, when masks, health screenings, and social distancing were imposed across the men’s WorldTour.