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Giro d'Italia director insists race will reach Milan despite coronavirus crisis

Mauro Vegni says testing being stepped up after peloton decimated by departure of Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma

Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vengni says he is confident the race will conclude as planned in Milan a week on Sunday, despite the peloton being decimated this morning by the departure of the Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma teams following positive tests for coronavirus.

Mitchelton-Scott had already lost team leader Simon Yates when he pulled out on Saturday after testing positive for COVID-19 and now the entire team has withdrawn, with the agreement of the race organisers RCS Sport, after four members of staff also returned positive results,

Jumbo-Visma’s withdrawal, meanwhile, came after it was confirmed that their team leader, Steven Kruijswijk, had tested positive for coronavirus, one of two riders to do so in the latest round if tests, the other being Team Sunweb’s Michael Matthews.

> Jumbo-Visma's Jos van Emden slams Giro d'Italia organisers over control of COVID-19, saying riders shared hotel buffets with regular guests

The departure of the Mitchelton-Scott and  Jumbo-Visma teams, as well as Matthews, meant that just 145 riders took to the start of the race in Lanciano today.

Positive tests were also returned by a member of staff at AG2r-La Mondiale, and one at Ineos Grenadiers.

“Our effort continues to be that of keeping the situation under control and closing our bubble,” Vegni told journalists before the start of toda's Stage 10 to Tortoreto.

“On the next rest day [next Monday] we will all undergo new : on the next day of rest we will all undergo new molecular PCR swab tests as per the UCI protocol, but we want to do more.

“All the teams involved in positive cases underwent new rapid tests this morning and we will do the same the day after tomorrow.

“To date we have made almost 1,500 tests and frankly it is impossible to do any more than that.

“Losing a team is a pain and regrettable, but in agreement with the staff of Mitchelton Scott we made the most correct decision also from an ethical point of view.

“Of course for all of us the goal remains to arrive in Milan, we are doing everything possible to tackle this tour of Italy in October and to stage it with dignity and regularity,” he added.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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