March 4, 2020 / 3:53 PM / in a month

Cycling-Dutch team pulls out of Strade Bianche amid coronavirus

PARIS, March 4 (Reuters) - Dutch team Lotto Jumbo Visma has pulled put of Saturday’s Stade Bianche cycling race in Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Team Jumbo-Visma will not participate in Strade Bianche and GP Industria this weekend,” the team said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The decision has been taken on medical advice, the recommendation of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as on practical grounds.

“It’s likely that the same decision will apply to other Italian races in March. However, we are also awaiting messages from the Italian government.”

Italy has been the worst affected country in Europe by the coronavirus outbreak, with 79 deaths and more than 2,500 cases.

“Together with the management of our team, I am constantly considering and acting in the interest of the health and working conditions of our riders and staff members. That includes, for example, preventing them from quarantine abroad,” team general manager Richard Plugge said.

“We have to look at the broader picture and take responsibility for the health of riders, staff and fans.”

Elsewhere, several cycling teams confined to a luxury Abu Dhabi hotel have been instructed by the state’s health authorities to remain in quarantine until March 14 due to coronavirus concerns. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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