UCI closely monitors situation regarding coronavirus as riders arrive in Berlin

By PA Sport Staff
PA Media: Sport

Cycling’s world governing body the UCI is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation after a rider who began the now-cancelled UAE Tour arrived in Berlin to take part in the Track Cycling World Championships as the sporting world continues to be affected by the outbreak.

All riders at the race – including Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and race leader Adam Yates – have been placed under lockdown at their hotel and were being tested.

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov is also being kept in solitary confinement at his team’s hotel in Berlin after arriving from the UAE.

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The 34-year-old arrived in Germany on Thursday, having left Abu Dhabi before the UAE Tour was abruptly cancelled when two staff members on the race tested positive for coronavirus.

Michael Morkov is in solitary confinement (PA)
Michael Morkov is in solitary confinement (PA)

One other rider, Spaniard Alberto Torres, had been due to travel from the UAE Tour to compete in Berlin, but did not leave before the lockdown was imposed. The 29-year-old’s Movistar team said Torres would only travel if given the all-clear by authorities.

The UCI must now assess the situation in Berlin, where the world’s track teams are gathered for the final major competition before the Tokyo Olympics.

Events in the United Kingdom remain largely unaffected but there are precautions being put in place.

The Premier League is instructing clubs to follow the NHS guidelines and advised that clubs make sure staff are self-isolating if they begin to show any symptoms, but there is no suggestion that any extra measures are required at this stage.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce revealed at his press conference on Friday that players have been told not to shake hands with one another.

“There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands with everybody as soon as we see each other every morning – we’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor,” he said.

“Were like everybody else. Thankfully, we’ve got a superb doctor here and he will keep us informed of what we have to do. We’re like everybody else, we’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next and let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse in this country.”

Premier League leaders Liverpool, unlike Newcastle, are yet to put a stop to players shaking hands.

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has said the club have stopped their players from shaking hands (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has said the club have stopped their players from shaking hands (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“So far we didn’t tell anyone not to shake hands but we have disinfectant stations here,” Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said. “It’s important we take it serious but not get crazy about it.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal and Tottenham have both taken the precaution of asking all visitors to their respective training grounds to fill out a form in advance of arrival to limit access to those who may have recently been in affected areas.

Football has been hit further afield as Swiss Super League matches for this weekend have been postponed after the government banned all events involving more than 1,000 people.

“The Swiss Football League (SFL) responds to the orders of the Federal Council and postpones all matches of the 24th round of the Raiffeisen Super League and the Brack.ch Challenge League from the coming weekend to an indefinite date,” a statement read.

The Federal Council informed the population at a media conference on Friday that all events with more than 1,000 people are now prohibited until at least until March 15, 2020.

Five Serie A matches will be played behind closed doors this weekend, it was confirmed on Thursday.

While no fixtures will be postponed, Saturday’s game between Udinese and Fiorentina will be played in front of an empty stadium.

A day later, matches between AC Milan-Genoa, Parma-SPAL, Sassuolo-Brescia and Juventus-Inter will all take place behind closed doors.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus team-mates will take on Serie A rivals Inter Milan behind closed doors this weekend (Martin Rickett/PA)
Cristiano Ronaldo and his Juventus team-mates will take on Serie A rivals Inter Milan behind closed doors this weekend (Martin Rickett/PA)

Valencia have cancelled all pre and post-match press conferences and have closed off media access to their players.

“Valencia CF have decided – following the recommendations set by the regional and national health authorities – to increase preventive measures of contagion, to cancel all the acts, meetings or public gatherings in enclosed spaces that present risk to players, coaching staff and club staff,” a statement from the LaLiga club read.

“In this context, any non-sports public activity with members of the first team will be cancelled until further notice, including the coach’s press conference prior to the LaLiga match, as well as all the pre and post-match appearances scheduled for Saturday’s game at Mestalla.”

On Monday, Six Nations chiefs are set to gather in Paris for talks over the spread of coronavirus, with Ireland’s match against Italy in Dublin on March 7 already postponed.

Representatives from the home unions plus France and Italy will be present for the pre-scheduled World Rugby meeting that will now also include discussions over what additional action should be taken in response to the outbreak.

England’s trip to Rome on March 14 is now in grave doubt due to the virus’ stranglehold in northern Italy, which has become a major centre of infection with 11 towns in lockdown.

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