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Coronavirus in nothern Italy puts Milan-San Remo at risk

The race route threads straight through the "red zone" of contamination

More than 150 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported in northern Italy, the third highest of any country. As of Feb. 23, eleven towns, mostly in the Lomabardy area, are on lock down. While Italian officials search for the “patient zero” of the outbreak, the virus has reportedly claimed the lives of seven people in the region.

As a precautionary measure, many sporting and cultural events slated to be held in northern Italy are cancelled or are likely to be cancelled in the coming days.

Now, officials are saying, a number of cycling races may also be at risk.

“No plan B”

Speaking with the press at the UAE Tour, RCS Sport director Mauro Vegni told reporters that if regulations continue, Milan-San Remo will likely not be happening. Milan is only 60 km away from the Lombardy area, the current centre of the outbreak in Italy.

Julian Alaphilippe, winner of Milan-San Remo 2019

“If the government confirms a blockage of sport in Milan and Lombardy, we would have to cancel it,” says Vengi.

The 300 km spring classic is scheduled for March 21. Milan-San Remo’s route passes through some areas currently in the “red zone” of contamination, and Vengi says there is no plan to change the route.

“At the moment, there’s no plan B for Milan-San Remo,” he says. “It would make no sense to cut three quarters of the race. We can only follow the lead from the government. We still have three weeks until Milan-San Remo.”

2020 Tour of Hainan Cancelled due to fears of coronavirus

The Strade Bianche, happening Mar. 7 and Tirreno-Adriatico taking place Mar. 11-17, are currently not within the “red zone” of contamination. Officials worry, though, that the COVID-19 virus will continue to spread and will reach these areas by the time the races are happening. If the situation in Italy gets worse, the Giro d’Italia, held in May, could be at risk of cancellation.