Every race is at risk of cancellation — including the Tour de France, says UCI

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David Lappartient, the president of cycling’s world governing body the UCI, has admitted that every race this season, including the Tour de France, is at risk of cancellation due to Covid-19. 

The Frenchman was speaking as cycling holds its collective breath ahead of the return of the WorldTour on Saturday.

Lappartient will be present at the men’s and women’s editions of Strade Bianche in Italy.

But such is the uncertain situation across Europe, and such is the challenge of trying to put on multiple races simultaneously across the continent, no one can be sure how the next three months are going to pan out.

“Every race is at risk, even the Tour," Lappartient told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Five riders have so far been forced to pull out of this week’s Vuelta a Burgos in Spain, where Belgian sensation Remco Evenepoel took victory in Thursday’s third stage. 

Although the five did not test positive for Covid-19 themselves, they came into contact with people who did and were withdrawn by their respective teams Israel Start-Up Nation and UAE Team Emirates

The confusion led EF Pro Cycling manager Jonathan Vaughters to describe cycling’s return in Spain as a “mess”.

Lappartient, though, praised the pre-emptive actions of UAE Team Emirates and Israel Start-Up Nation in Spain. And he stressed how important it was that every team respected the Covid-19 protocols.

On Wednesday, the UCI announced fines and other punishments for riders and race organisers who broke the protocols.

"They're rules, not recommendations,” Lappartient insisted. “Cycling is not like Formula 1 that has just 20 drivers. We've got 2,000 men and women all over the world.”

Lappartient added the sport had a duty to its stakeholders to try to resume the season even if races do ultimately have to be cancelled. 

"Our sport is still alive: others sports cancelled everything but we have a race calendar," he said. "The race in Siena [Strade Bianche] can send out a message of hope for cycling and for all of sport. We're back and want to give people something to smile about. Things are difficult but cycling is strong.”

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