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Italian riders to remain on lockdown until May 3

Italian cycling head wary of allowing riders onto open roads as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Europe, shoots out a warning over Giro d'Italia.

Italian riders are facing a further three weeks on indoor trainers.

President of the Italian Cycling Federation Renato di Rocco confirmed last week that the restriction on cycling outdoors would extend through May 3.

“We have analyzed many aspects and the problem is that there are still too many active outbreaks in the north, where most sports clubs and professional runners reside,” di Rocco told Il Messagero. “The activity, for professionals and athletes of national interest, will probably resume after May 3.”

Italy is one of many cycling hotspots in Europe where riders have been forbidden from training outside, with riders in Spain, France and Andorra also facing tight restrictions. The Italian Health Ministry had confirmed to Reuters earlier this month that the nationwide lockdown would extend through at least April 13, at which point some relaxation may be allowed, in exceptional circumstances.

The possibility of some easing of restrictions had prompted The Italian Cyclists’ Association to request permission for riders to train outside on the basis of it being essential for their profession in a move similar to that taken by pro cyclists in France.

Di Rocco’s statement extinguished the hopes of the Italian peloton, at least for another few weeks. North Italy has been among the hardest hit by coronavirus fatalities, and with death tolls continuing to rise through Europe, di Rocco was not willing to take any risks.

“The resumption of activity is not only linked to the Italian situation, but also to other countries. France — along with Germany, Belgium, and Spain — has very high numbers that do not give signs of improvement,” he said. “We have begun a phase of descent of the infections, in Northern Europe not yet and not all have implemented rigid restrictions like ours, favoring the spread of the virus.”

Italian races Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche and the Giro d’Italia were among the first races to cancel as coronavirus wiped out the first half of the 2020 cycling calendar.

While an October start for the Giro is currently the goal, when asked if a full cancelation of the race was a possibility, di Rocco did not rule it out. “This is one of the possible hypotheses, which does not only concern the Tour of Italy, but all the other races in Europe.”

“We do not know how the trend of this epidemic will be in the coming months, we must all be ready to give up our races for the good of the community,” Di Rocco warned.

Meanwhile, Tour de France organizers are currently scrambling to re-schedule their race, with reports this weekend suggesting that ASO is holding out hopes for a successful postponement rather than full cancelation of the Tour.