Giro d’Italia will not enforce a ‘two strikes’ COVID rule

Race director will not be applying protocol in place at Tour de France that places teams in danger of expulsion.

The Giro d’Italia will not be applying the “two strikes and your out” policy to COVID positives currently in place at the Tour de France.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday, race director Mauro Vegni sketched out his thoughts and plans for October’s race, and as it stands, the rule in use in France whereby two positive coronavirus cases within one team “bubble” in a seven day period results in expulsion is not on his agenda.

“It is not something that I agree with,” Vegni said. “Since the regulation says that the organizer ‘can’, but ‘must not’ do so, I will not apply it.

“If a positive is found, I will isolate them according to the protocol. And I will test every day, starting with the one in which the first positive was found, that team. Every day, for three to four days in a row, too, I will test them, check them.”

The Tour de France breathed a collective sigh of relief Mondy when the first rest-day tests saw staffers from four teams return positive results, but no riders, so allowing all 22 squads to continue racing into the second week.

“I’m not sending the team home [if two cases are found],” Vegni said. “It seems to me correct and respectful towards those who have nothing to hide in such a situation. Those who test positive are certainly not a bandit. Obviously I try to protect the race from the point of view of health, but I do not invalidate the work of a team that for a year is preparing for a great event.”

Vegni went on to explain that team “bubbles” will be used per the UCI’s guidelines, and that there may be restrictions on the public.

With less than four weeks until the Giro rolls out of Palermo on October 3, Vegni was optimistic for the future of his race.

“Looking at people on the streets, most of them observe distancing and use masks,” Vegni said. “With many difficulties, I believe that we are going in the right direction.”

However, with coronavirus spiking in small spots through Europe, the Giro boss acknowledged nothing is certain, and that his “greatest concern is the evolution of health measures.”