Citing the tragic news of the death of their Sports Director Nicolas Portal and the current Coronavirus confusion, Team Ineos has decided to suspend their race calendar until Volta a Catalunya.
The move sees the team pulling out of several major Italian races alongside some Belgian Semi-Classics and short stage races.
In a statement posted on the team's website, team boss Sir Dave Brailsford said:
"This is a uniquely sad moment for everyone at the Team. We have lost someone we all loved very much and are all grieving for Nico. I would like to thank everyone for their messages following the tragic news yesterday. They have really meant a lot to us all as we try to come to terms with this terrible news. Nico meant the world to us as a Team and it is genuinely touching to know how much he also meant to everyone else across the sport.
We are taking this decision to put a temporary pause on racing today because of this unique set of circumstances we are facing. It is right for the Team given what has happened but I also believe it is in the best interests of both cycling and the wider public.
Cycling is a uniquely mobile sport. We have a duty of care both to our riders and staff but also to the people living in the areas where we race. We do not want to be in a position where our riders become potentially infected or quarantined on race as has already happened. Equally, we are acutely aware that these are difficult times for all local health services and we do not want to put any additional pressure or burden whatsoever upon them when all their focus should rightly be on their own local population. Recent events at the UAE Tour have illustrated some of these challenges for cycling as a sport.
This pause will give us the time to grieve for Nico in private, to support each other at what is a very sad moment and to treasure the memory of a great and much-loved teammate and friend. We hope everyone will understand why this is so important to us."
The team will return to racing at the Volta a Catalunya, a week-long stage race in Catalunya.