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Organizers tell teams upcoming Italian races good to go

RCS Sport sent a message Monday morning assuring teams that Strade Bianche and other Italian races will be held.

Three upcoming Italian races on the WorldTour calendar are good to go despite growing worries of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

At least that’s according to organizers RCS Sport, which sent an update to teams Monday morning insisting that major races scheduled this month — Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo — are set to be contested.

“We want to underline that all races are confirmed,” an RCS Sport message to teams stated. RCS Sport sent the update to answer a swarm of e-mails and calls from teams about the fate of the Italian races, titling the message, “RCS spring races – confirmation.”

VeloNews confirmed reports by Het Laatste Nieuws that teams received notification from RCS Sport assuring teams that the races will be held as scheduled.

On Sunday, UCI president David Lappartient told reporters that although no races on the upcoming European calendar have been impacted, the final decision will come from national health authorities.

“The decision remains in the capacity of the health authorities to decide what is the best decision,” Lappartient said Sunday in Berlin. “From our side, we continue to support the events to take place in Italy. The public authorities can decide to stop some sport events, but so far, this does not seem to be the case. So that is why, as of today, these races remain in the UCI calendar.”

Concerns about the European race calendar have ratcheted up following breakouts of the coronavirus in parts of northern Italy, France, Spain and other parts of Europe. The cancellation of the UAE Tour last week, followed by several days of lock-down for the race entourage, have only heightened fears about the impact the virus might have on the 2020 road racing calendar.

The Berlin track worlds concluded Sunday without incident, though Michael Mørkøv was at the center of an unfolding international drama. The Dane had traveled to Berlin from the UAE Tour, where he raced the opening four stages, just ahead of a health scare Thursday that forced authorities to shut down the WorldTour race in Abu Dhabi. Mørkøv stayed in isolation for nearly 36 hours in Berlin before he was cleared to race, and promptly won the Madison world title Sunday.

After this weekend’s racing in Belgium unfolded as planned, Strade Bianche is scheduled for Saturday, while Tirreno-Adriatico is slated for March 11-17, and Milan-San Remo on March 21. Trofeo Binda, an important date on the women’s WorldTour calendar, is slated for March 22. Of those races, only portions of the Milan-San Remo route go near a so-called “red zone” in an area south of Milan.

On Monday, however, a mountain bike race near Savona along Italy’s Riviera, announced it would be postponing its event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

The RCS Sport note might try to appease worries from teams, but it’s likely not the end of suspense. Italian health officials say the coming week will be decisive to see if the measures that have been taken so far have curbed the spread of the virus.