Government decision on coronavirus likely to halt Strade Bianche and other Italian races

A decree by the Italian government cancelling all public events is likely to impact Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo, and other cycling events.

Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

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A decree by the Italian government aimed at curbing coronavirus transmission at sporting events is likely to force the cancellation of pro cycling events in the country through the next month, including Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo, and Tirreno-Adriatico.

On Sunday the Italian government issued a decree cancelling all sporting events in Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna until March 8. On Wednesday evening, a new government decree cancelled all public events through April 3, and forced sporting events to continue without any spectator attendance until that date.

RCS Sport, owner of the three races, said it would make a decision on Strade Bianche following meetings with authorities in the coming days. The organization did cancel its Strade Bianche gran fondo event which was set to occur the day after the professional event.

In the wake of the decision, Serie A soccer matches announced they would proceed, however the teams would compete in empty stadiums.

The decree is likely to cancel the outdoor cycling races, which are impossible to stage without spectator involvement. RCS Sport, owner of the three races, has yet to make a public comment on the government decision.

The decision comes just as the Italian cycling season is about to start. Strade Bianche opens the racing season this weekend, with Tirreno-Adriatico set to run March 11-17, and Milano-Sanremo set for March 21.

Other Italian races will be impacted by the decision, such as GP Larciano, Popolarissima, Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Settimana Coppi e Bartali, and the Giro di Sicilia.

Stay tuned to as this story is still developing.

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