News

Three teams to miss start of Spanish race after COVID test delay

Organizers shoot back at allegations made by CCC-Liv that conditions are unsafe after team voluntarily withdraws.

Three teams will miss Thursday’s Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa after being unable to meet COVID-19 criteria while race organizers shoot back at CCC-Liv‘s decision not to start.

Race organizers insist they were properly following the UCI guidelines, and are working with health officials from a local university to try to help teams complete required pre-race screenings.

“The race organization flatly denies the reasons given by [CCC-Liv] for not taking part of the race,” a press statement read. “At the same time, the organization offered the medical staff of the team all the documentation that they wanted.”

CCC-Liv opted not to start the first major women’s race in months, citing worsening health conditions in northern Spain as well as uncertainty that all riders in the peloton had passed required pre-race COVID-19 controls. It also opted not to start a race scheduled Friday, and team officials said they hope to race Sunday.

In the end, three teams will not start Thursday — Bizkaia-Durango, Sopela Team and Massi-Tactic — due to being unable to get test results back in time for the race start Thursday afternoon.

The UCI is requiring all racers and staffers to have a negative PCR test, which detects the presence of COVID-19, before being allowed to race. Overnight, the Cyclists’ Alliance raised the alarm that not all riders slated to start Thursday has safely passed all required controls. Teams and riders are discovering that it can be difficult to find laboratories that can turn around test results fast enough to meet the requirements.

Race officials also pushed back against accusations that race conditions are unsafe, insisting that they are working closely with UCI medical staff and local and regional health authorities to guarantee safety.

In total, 21 teams are cleared to race in the hilly 118km race from Pamplona to Lekunberri.