Team INEOS to temporarily stop racing after Nico Portal death and amid coronavirus concerns | Cycling News

Last Updated: 04/03/20 10:38pm

Team INEOS will not return to racing until the Volta a Catalunya

Team INEOS will not return to racing until the Volta a Catalunya

Team INEOS are to temporarily withdraw from all racing until March 23 after the tragic death of their Sports Director Nico Portal, and amid growing concern over the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, the team said they would return to racing at the Volta a Catalunya and have notified the UCI of their decision.

It means they will not take part in Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Nokere Koerse or Bredene Koksijde Classic.

On Tuesday it was announced their Sports Director and former rider Nicolas Portal had died at the age of 40.

The team said they had withdrawn from racing “first and foremost to look after our team members, their family and friends, who are all grieving for a much loved teammate and whose funeral will be taking place in the coming days”.

They also said the had a “duty of healthcare to riders and staff in what is a very fast moving and challenging situation with coronavirus”.

Nicolas Portal passed away on Tuesday aged 40

Nicolas Portal passed away on Tuesday aged 40

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.

“I would like to thank everyone for their messages following the tragic news yesterday. They have really meant a lot to us all as we try to come to terms with this terrible news.

“Nico meant the world to us as a Team and it is genuinely touching to know how much he also meant to everyone else across the sport.

“We are taking this decision to put a temporary pause on racing today because of this unique set of circumstances we are facing.

“Cycling is a uniquely mobile sport. We have a duty of care both to our riders and staff but also to the people living in the areas where we race. We do not want to be in a position where our riders become potentially infected or quarantined on race as has already happened.

“Equally we are acutely aware that these are difficult times for all local health services and we do not want to put any additional pressure or burden whatsoever upon them when all their focus should rightly be on their own local population.”

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