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Gran Fondo Strade Bianche cancelled due to Corona-Virus Fears in Italy

Gran Fondo Strade Bianche in Tuscany, Italy was due to take place this Sunday, the day after the pro races. However, the amateur event has been cancelled for safety reasons. There are fears that more major Italian races like Tirreno-Adriatico could be cancelled in the coming weeks.

RCS Sport, which owns major races including the Giro d’Italia, has canceled its first event due to the coronavirus; a major Gran Fondo this weekend in Italy.

The company, which owns major races including the Giro d’Italia, said it would publish updates on its imminent pro races just as soon as it had liaised more with the health and public authorities in Italy.

Amid escalating coronarvirus rates in Europe, Italy’s situation is worse than any other nation in the region.

Today the Italian authorities introduced significant restrictions on schools, which will close, and public and sporting events in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Gran Fondo Strade Bianche was due to take place on Sunday, one day after the women’s and men’s pro races. However, the leisure event is cancelled due to the coronavirus, and there are fears about this weekend’s races and major races to come this spring.

It seems almost inevitable that major professional cycling races run by RCS Sports in Italy will face cancellations, though as of Wednesday night none had been cancelled or postponed.

However, the event that has been cancelled for this Sunday is the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche; the mass participation leisure event that follows 24 hours after the WorldTour one-day race Strade Bianche on Saturday.

It is feared that race won’t go ahead and the same fears also pertain in relation to the women’s race on the same day as well as Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and others.

These events are some of the biggest in cycling’s spring series of events and any one of them being scrapped for this year would be a huge blow.

If several of these races were cancelled, it would largely reshape the first half of the season for many pro teams; some of whom are reluctant to go to Italy at present to race because of the virus.

“Following the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic of March 4th, 2020, RCS Sport announces that the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche scheduled for March 8th is canceled,” RCS Sport said, referring to the new restrictions in public gatherings introduced today.

It added the details of a new date for Gran Fondo Strade Bianche would be “communicated in the future”.

The statement then turned its attentions to the upcoming pro races; stopping well short of announcing their cancellation but suggesting they were under close review.

“Regarding the bike races Strade Bianche (7 March), Strade Bianche Women Elite (7 March), Tirreno-Adriatico (11-17 March), Milano-Sanremo (21 March) and Il Giro di Sicilia (1-4 April), RCS Sport will communicate the updates and details in the coming days,” it said.

“(Updates will be published) following the meetings with the appropriate authorities, starting from the meeting with the Prefecture of Siena tomorrow morning.”

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