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More cycling races canceled due to spread of coronavirus

Belgium Virus Outbreak Cycling

FILE - In this Saturday, March 21, 2009 file photo, the pack pedals by the town of Campo Ligure during the Milan-San Remo cycling classic in Italy. The impact of the Covid-19 virus on cycling has been escalating as Australian team Mitchelton-Scott decided to withdraw from racing until March 22. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati, File)


MILAN -- More cycling races were canceled Friday due to the coronavirus outbreak spreading around the world.

RCS Sport, which organizes cycling events in Italy, canceled the Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo races as well as the Giro di Sicilia.

On Thursday, the Strade Bianche men’s and women’s races were canceled.

“RCS Sport will request the UCI, via the Italian Cycling Federation, to allocate new dates on the international cycling calendar for the three races, as has already been requested for Strade Bianche and Strade Bianche Women Elite,” RCS said in a statement.

The Italian government issued a decree on Wednesday that all sporting events in the country must take place without spectators until April 3.

Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo were scheduled for this month, while the Giro di Sicilia was due to take place from April 1-4.

The canceled races will have implications as riders prepare for the year’s biggest events, such as the Giro d’Italia (May 9-31) and the Tour de France (June 27-July 19). The Tour is slated to start a week earlier this year to avoid conflict with the Tokyo Olympics.

Italy is the epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak. More than 100 people have died and more than 3,000 have been infected, mainly in the northern part of the country.

Cycling teams had already begun withdrawing from the Strade Bianche and other races this month in Italy and France, with some stopping racing altogether for much of March.

Spain-based cycling team Movistar also announced Friday that it was suspending participation in all races until March 22. The team led by Alejandro Valverde will miss the Paris-Nice race, among other events.