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Alé BTC Ljubljana will not race the Women’s Tour of Flanders

The Italian squad will not have its pre-race COVID-19 control results in sufficient time to prepare for the race

Alé BTC Ljubljana’s Marta Bastianelli will not be able to defend her title at the 2020 Women’s Tour of Flanders.

The Italian-Slovenian squad has pulled out of the race, citing insufficient time between COVID-19 testing and the start of the race.

Last week, the team had to sit out last week’s Gent-Wevelgem due to a positive COVID-19 test within its team bubble. Since then, the team and staff have been in strict isolation in Belgium.

According to a press release from the team on Friday, the riders and staff are to undergo their next COVID-19 test “between today or tomorrow,” which doesn’t give them enough time to organize themselves ahead of Sunday’s race.

“With great regret we have to give up the race,” said the team’s director Fortunato Lacquaniti. “There are deadlines and rules to be respected and we have no other choice. In addition, the riders have been practically at a standstill for a week and would have no way of facing such an important and demanding race in optimal conditions.”

For many riders across the women’s peloton, Flanders will serve as the last race of 2020.