Van der Poel and several other Alpecin-Fenix riders are now planning on making their return at the Strade Bianche on August 1.
“It is an unfortunate but understandable decision. We add the Sibiu Cycling Tour to my program in order to get extra race rhythm ahead of Strade Bianche. However, I experience during our high-altitude camp in La Plagne, physically, I’m right on schedule. In that way, I can start my Italian program with a good feeling. I am definitely looking forward to race again,” van der Poel said.
In a press release issued Thursday, the team indicated their medical staff still had serious concerns about exposure to COVID-19, as well as having to undergo a 14-day quarantine following the race, which would conflict with other races now on the team’s calendar.
“Our medical staff considers our participation in Tour of Sibiu as irresponsible towards riders and staff but also towards the public health in general,” team representatives wrote in a prepared statement.
With two-week self-isolation required of those traveling from Romania to many other European countries, as well as increased risk for riders, team staff, and the general public, the team made the decision to forego this stop in racing restart.
The team Alpecin-Fenix management statement continued, “Together with our medical staff and the local organizing committee, we closely monitored the situation. Unfortunately, we had to conclude traveling to Romania is not an option. The health of our riders, staff members but also public health is of primary importance. We want to strictly follow all recommendations to eliminate any risk. We would like to express our gratitude towards the local organizing committee for their understanding and their cooperation over the last couple of weeks.”
Strade Bianche will be the return to racing for many WorldTour teams after a four-month pause due to the pandemic.