The UCI has refused a call from EF Pro Cycling boss Jonathan Vaugthers to call off the Giro d'Italia, a Eurosport exclusive reveals.
SBS Cycling Central

16 Oct 2020 - 8:39 AM  UPDATED 16 Oct 2020 - 10:37 AM

Vaughters told Eurosport's Orla Chennaoui he wrote a letter to the UCI proposing the cancellation of the Giro after the second week of racing amid concerns among the peloton and staff at the race around safety following 11 positive tests on the first rest day. 

Two Giro riders test positive for COVID-19, along with six staff members as Mitchelton-SCOTT withdraw
Two Giro d'Italia riders, one each from Team Sunweb and Team Jumbo-Visma, tested positive for Covid-19, along with six staff members, causing Mitchelton-SCOTT to withdraw from the race.

“It must be expected that further illness will result," an extract from the letter on the Eurosport website states.

"It would be better for the Giro and the UCI World Tour…(if) this be done in a systematic, holistic way versus a chaotic withdrawal on a team by team basis.”

The letter also proposed "at least two systematic Covid tests before that rest day and an earlier close to the race if additional tests return positive prior to the rest day.”

But UCI boss David Lappartient rejected the request Eurosport also revealed, saying he was satisfied with the efforts to make the race as safe as possible including general screening of teams on yesterday and today (AEDT) in addition to the rest day testing on Monday.  

“We now face a challenge to finish the season and this can be achieved by continuing this spirit of collaboration and unity in professional cycling," Lappartient said.

“With these measures, we trust in everyone’s cooperation in the common goal of continuing our sport in the safest possible conditions. The outcome of these measures will be closely monitored throughout the continuation of the event and for any additional measures.”

In a subsequent interview, Vaughters told Eurosport his team would not leave the race despite the UCI's rejection of his proposal but will do so even if they only return one positive test. 

“While we hope to remain in the race until an official early finish, should anyone on our team test positive, or should the riders and staff grow uncomfortable with the situation, we will leave the race at that time.”

Giro race director Mauro Vegni continues to defend the measures the race has taken against the coronavirus despite several riders and staff citing breaches of the race bubble in hotels in the first week of the race. 

"These are the same measures that were used in the other races," Vegni said in a post stage 12 press conference. "I don’t see why the Giro should be seen as being worse than the others.

“On the first rest day we had eight positives. How many were there in other places? We’re in October, the trend is going upwards. Today there were almost 9,000 cases [in Italy] so obviously there’s a bit more stress than there was in August.

“It’s a virus that exists and one that we’ll probably have to fight against all next year too. We need to have the courage to go on.”

Vegni was also asked about EF Pro Cycling's letter to which he responded, “I think it was something written among teams and maybe also to the UCI. I received some things, but I haven’t seen Vaughters around here.

"This morning, talking about it with the guys from the team, they didn’t know either, so you can draw your own conclusions.”

Late Thursday evening (AEDT), news broke of 17 moto police officers assigned to the E-Giro, an electric bike race preceding the Giro's arrival on each stage, have tested positive for the coronavirus.