Team Ineos withdraw from all races until 23 March

Chris Froome
Chris Froome continued his comeback from injury at the UAE Tour and was among those tested for coronavirus

Team Ineos have withdrawn from all races until 23 March following the death of sporting director Nico Portal and the "very uncertain situation" surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

Ineos have notified cycling's governing body the UCI and plan to return to racing at Spain's Volta a Catalunya.

Several other teams including Mitchelton-Scott and Astana have also withdrawn from upcoming major races.

Strade Bianche, due to take place in Italy on Saturday, has been postponed.

The event's organisers said they were unable to meet the provisions of an Italian government decree for all sport in Italy to be played behind closed doors until 3 April.

Britain's Team Ineos will miss France's Paris-Nice event (8-15 March), Italy's Tirreno-Adriatico (11-17 March) and one-day 'monument' Milan-San Remo (21 March), plus the Nokere Koerse and the Bredene Koksijde Classic in Belgium.

Ineos sporting director Portal died suddenly at the age of 40 on Tuesday.

The team said they had reached the decision "first and foremost to look after our team members, their family and friends, who are all grieving for a much loved team-mate".

However, they also stated a "duty of healthcare to riders and staff" and "wider responsibilities to local communities" as the coronavirus outbreak continues to pose challenges across sport.

Team principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: "This is a uniquely sad moment for everyone at the team. We have lost someone we all loved very much and are all grieving for Nico.

"We are taking this decision to put a temporary pause on racing because of this unique set of circumstances we are facing. It is right for the team given what has happened but I also believe it is in the best interests of both cycling and the wider public."

Which teams are missing races?

Team IneosParis-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic
Mitchelton-ScottParis-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Nokere Koerse, Bredene Koksijde Classic
Team UAE EmiratesParis-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo
AstanaParis-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico
CCC TeamParis-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico
EF Pro CyclingTirreno-Adriatico, Milan San-Remo
Jumbo Visma Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan San-Remo
Team SunwebTirreno-Adriatico, Milan San-Remo

Despite postponing Strade Bianche, organisers RCS Sport have yet to make an announcement about Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, while France's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said on Tuesday that Paris-Nice would begin as planned.

Paris-Nice organisers ASO have invited two professional continental teams - B&B Vital Concept and Circus Wanty Gobert - to the race and have also allowed each team to field eight riders instead of seven.

RCS Sport have asked the UCI to allocate a new date for the men's and women's Strade Bianche.

In women's cycling, Mitchelton-Scott have withdrawn from Ronde van Drenthe, Nokere Koerse and Trofeo Alfredo Binda, while Parkhotel Valkenburg have also pulled out of the latter.

However, organisers subsequently announced that Trofeo Alfredo Binda will be rescheduled from 22 March to 2 June.

UAE Tour riders held in quarantine

Groupama-FDJ riders Ramon Sinkeldam (left) and Arnaud Demare (right) at the UAE Tour
Ramon Sinkeldam (left) and Arnaud Demare (right) are two of the Groupama-FDJ riders still in quarantine

Meanwhile, Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ and Gazprom riders and staff will be held in quarantine in the United Arab Emirates until 14 March after the final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled because of two cases of coronavirus among team staff members.

Members of Team UAE Emirates, who were allowed to leave after testing but chose to stay as a precaution, also remain in isolation.

One of their riders, Italian Diego Ulissi, missed the birth of his daughter on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, UAE authorities announced six more cases connected to the race - including two Russians, two Italians, one German and one Colombian.

The six new cases all involve people who stayed on the same floor of a hotel in Abu Dhabi so authorities have decided to keep those team members also staying on the same floor in isolation until 14 March "at latest".

Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ said all their riders and staff have tested negative for coronavirus, though Groupama-FDJ withdrew from Strade Bianche before it was postponed and Tirreno-Adriatico because too many of their staff and riders are still in quarantine.

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