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Giro d’Italia: Riders take bus after stage 19 protest

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Quick Step team at the Giro
Riders are being transported on team buses

Riders have taken team buses more than halfway through stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia after a protest over safety.

Concerns were raised over the 258km stage from Morbegno taking part in heavy rain, risking riders’ health.

Organisers eventually agreed with the Professional Cyclists’ Association (CPA) to start the stage 124km from the finish in Asti. It is now under way.

Czech rider Josef Cerny of CCC won the stage after moving clear of a breakaway.

The CPA said on Friday: “The riders’ health is the priority, especially in this Covid period.”

It added: “Reducing today’s stage will not diminish the show, but will allow the immune defences of the riders not to be put at greater risk.”

Competing in heavy rain can cause riders, whose immune systems may already be compromised by excessive exertion, to become unwell as dirt and bacteria from the road is sprayed through the peloton.

Many riders are concerned it will increase the risk of contracting coronavirus.

The stage initially took place under heavy rain in the neutral zone before the official start, where riders were stopped and the team’s buses were called back to pick them up.

The peloton was eventually dropped off in Abbiategrasso, where in drying conditions a breakaway of 14, including Britain’s Alex Dowsett of Israel Start Up Nation, stayed ahead of the peloton for the duration.

Cerny crossed the line 18 seconds ahead of Belgium’s Victor Campenaerts of NTT and Italian Jacopo Mosca of Trek-Segafredo.

The peloton was 11 minutes behind after Bora-Hansgrohe called off their attack for Slovak Peter Sagan part way through the stage.

Sunweb’s Dutch rider Wilco Kelderman continues to lead the overall standings by 12 seconds from Australian team-mate Jai Hindley, and 15 seconds from Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos.

Meanwhile, Vini Zabu-KTM’s Italian rider Matteo Spreafico has left the Giro, having being suspended by the UCI – cycling’s world governing body – after two adverse analytical findings for the prohibited substance enobosarm.

“The rider has the right to request and attend the analyses of the B samples,” said a UCI statement.

“In accordance with the UCI anti-doping rules, the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair.”

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