A proposal from EF Pro Cycling to halt the Giro d’Italia on the second rest day of the race, because of "a clearly compromised bubble", has been refused by the UCI.
Concerns have been growing among the peloton about the safety of racing through the global pandemic, after 11 Covid tests were returned positive across five teams on the first rest day.
Eurosport has learned that EF Pro Cycling has written a letter requesting an early end to the Italian Grand Tour, with winners declared as per their standing at the end of the second week of racing.
- Read the full letter from EF Pro Cycling here - and the UCI response
- Watch our full coverage of this story on The Breakaway on Eurosport Player
- Exclusive: 'We’re not threatening to leave the race' - EF Pro Cycling boss
In the document, addressed to the race organisers, RCS, the UCI and other stakeholders and teams, the North American team say “it must be expected that further illness will result” from the positive tests so far, and that “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 further proposes “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.”
However, the UCI has denied the request, highlighting the continued efforts of all involved in the race to make it as safe as possible. In a letter of reply, David Lappartient says, “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.”
Vaughters exclusive: 'We’re not threatening to leave the race'
The revelation comes after the news that 17 police motorbike officers from the E-Giro, a corresponding electric bike race which precedes the arrival of the Giro every day, have tested positive for the virus.
The UCI states in its reply letter that a general screening of the teams is being carried out on Thursday and Friday, in addition to the testing planned for the second rest day on Monday.
“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.”
Regardless of the official continuation of the race, EF has stated it will leave the Giro if they 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.”