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Effects of coronavirus on professional races

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I am disappointed to possibly lose my spring (and more?) cycling races. And I think it's true that this is a low risk virus for the vast majority of people, in terms of dying. But I have a different perspective than some on this thread about the way to interpret statistics of risk, and of how to handle epidemiology.

It's true to say that more people die of the flu in a year than have currently died from this strain, but that is very different from saying therefore we shouldn't be taking extraordinary precautions around this virus. First, the common flu is... common. It's understood, there are treatments for it, and lots of people have it every year. Those who die are almost always those who have multiple other health risks. This seems to be analagous on the surface for covid-19 in terms of hurting those with related risks, but evidence so far points to it casting a much, much bigger net. I think it's as meaningful to make the argument that cars kill more people and we don't worry about cars, so we shouldn't worry about this as a society. If that's your take, that's fine. I disagree.

It's two months in and there are still significant unknowns about how to treat or stop the virus, how it's spread, and how easily it can go undetected and therefore spread more. Those unknowns alone make it imperative from a conceptual standpoint to take measures to raise awareness and at the very least slow the spread to buy time and lessen the strain on treatment when treatment is just developing. Unfortunately, this raising awareness tends to raise panic, as lots of people don't take a measured approach, so that is an extra wrinkle - I think a lot of the criticism might be less about precautionary measures as it is the effect that those measures has on people panicking. That makes sense. But also, while taking the viewpoint of 'it's probably not as bad as everyone's panic level would imply' may be correct, taking the logical leap from there to say 'so no special precautions should be taken' is something I disagree with. I don't feel like assuming a best-case scenario is really responsible preparation for global pandemics.

From a logistical standpoint in terms of taxing resources, it's already been mentioned, but important to keep in mind that it seems like a far higher percentage people seemingly require hospital treatment for covid-19 than the common flu, so it's not just about death rate. And taxing hospital resources really puts pressure on at both ends, creating conditions where it's harder to stay on top of it and therefore it spreads more, and in individual cases having diluted resources make it more likely someone who could be saved with treatment dies. That puts medical professionals in a huge bind, and will most certainly spread panic farther if it comes to that. So I don't think it's quite as simple as 'a bunch of people will get sick but most people will be fine and get over it so everyone should stop freaking out'.

From the standpoint of regulations, at least in Italy right now, cycling is not a great sport for having people be more than a metre apart. Aside from the crowds (which are called 'crowds' for a reason), cycling as a sport would be nonsensical if riders didn't get close to each other, like just aerodynamically. Unless they run T-A as 7 TT stages. And people travel to see the races, and then go home. That's how this has spread everywhere in the world so far, so encouraging people to do so at this point is not really wise, unless one wants to risk exponentially taxing resources of medical care. Plus teams stay together, eat together, get massages, outside of riding in a pack for hours a day.

And, like, this isn't even theoretical. Riders literally got Coronavirus last week at a race and are locked in a hotel as we speak. If that's not reason enough to think about cancelling races, the completely haphazard way it was handled (sorry, maybe should be using present tense with that) should be - Cofidis riders are saying hotel staff are scared of them and dropping food at their doors and running away, and officials seemed to second guess themselves after testing people and then realized they hadn't been careful enough, and took action/gave information in a haphazard and unclear way. People are panicked, which is unfortunate - I think an ideal solution would be to tell people to wash their hands lots and be careful and trust people will listen, but clearly this isn't the case. People are scared of what they don't know, and this will grow exponentially if the virus spreads and people are hearing hospitals can't deal with it. Do you think riders, soigneurs, and race organizers want to go through that every week, and deal with the stress of being vectors of a pandemic, let alone get real sick themselves?

At the same time, organizers want to make money, and racers want to meet their season goals, and it's always easy to hope nothing goes wrong and try to push through. So, someone has to make a decision. Italian authorities and RCS seem to be vacillating, which is far from comforting, and the UCI can't even govern sock length without controversy, so I wouldn't look there. I'm glad the teams seem to be making the decision, at least the certainty that nothing is happening will be less fraught and panicky than the alternative.

Anyway, blah blah. I think my main point is that I'm cautious of saying that this hasn't killed as many people as the flu so we shouldn't worry about it, because that is exactly the type of thinking that could lead to a situation where it kills many more than the flu. Precautionary measures suck, but it seems like the responsible thing to do, to me.
Thank you for this post.
It's exactly my take on the matter.
 
Those same volunteers need to also have dirt to throw on them after the waterhose.

Obviously. And btw, I just meant hit them with the water from the waterhose, not the actual hose itself.

Races in Flanders appear to be going ahead in 2020.

In 1915, not so much.

And I guess the difference is, that it's quite easy to know where a war is happening, and if it's in your area.

Not taking part in Paris Nice is weird.

Well, INEOS' decision to withdraw from races isn't just because of the Corona virus.
 
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Yesterday we talked about the possibility of moving some races to the end of the season. I am afraid that at the end of the cycling season another flu season will already start. Situation will therefore likely be the same as now.

P.S. Hopefully by then and at the begging of the next year there will be some new guidelines, such as doctors doing regular (temperature) checks for cyclists and staff, maybe race organizers doing something similar for people visiting the race in more crowded places. Above all what i imagine will happen is there won't be such paranoia present anymore.
 
Astana also out. Vino talking about "responsibility" as if he ever cared :rolleyes:
Ah, 'responsibility', another one of those magical PR-words. Bah. What they are in fact doing, is screwing over teams that are already present with riders and staff, as cancellations such as this make it more likely the races are cancelled alltogether.

Hopefully by then and at the begging of the next year there will be some new guidelines, such as doctors doing regular (temperature) checks for cyclists and staff, maybe race organizers doing something similar for people visiting the race in more crowded places. Above all what i imagine will happen is there won't be such paranoia present anymore.
Those temperature checks are bogus. Many young people don't even develop a fever, so all you're doing is creating a fake feeling of safety.
 
Right... I realise it's probably too short notice, but imagine if race organisers basically went out and told lower ranking teams that "If you want to, and got a squad, you're in!"
Take Paris-Nice; Vital Concept doesn't have a wildcard, but if they were able - and willing - to put a roster together and race... shouldn't they be allowed to?
UCI could even allow organisers to invite conti teams.
 
According to reports we are 12 to 18 months away from a vaccine for it. Although I did read that the treatment for SARS is apparently working for this. The problem even with that is there isn't massive amounts of that treatment currently. I suspect once we get a vaccine and known treatments it won't be as big of an issue as it currently is.
For now maybe Zwift is the alternative until things get more settled?

Reports are there are 4 riders in the UAE quarantine that have gotten the virus.

I would take those reports with a very large pinch of salt to be honest. There isn't really a treatment for SARS, lots of companies are attempting to repurpose prior developments for SARS or MERS and see if they are effective against this particular coronavirus. They are notoriously difficult to develop vaccines for. As viruses they are more common in other animals. From the discussion in the other thread we think there is currently one vaccine for a coronavirus in cats and that's it. While they have managed to accelerate the discovery process, the limiting steps are usually the phases of the clinical trials and producing the candidate products, these fail all the time. Add on to this that these viruses mutate extremely quickly, so any vaccine that is effective against this strain wouldn't necessarily be effective against future strains. Basically hoping a vaccine will contain this is probably a bad idea.
 
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Right... I realise it's probably too short notice, but imagine if race organisers basically went out and told lower ranking teams that "If you want to, and got a squad, you're in!"
Take Paris-Nice; Vital Concept doesn't have a wildcard, but if they were able - and willing - to put a roster together and race... shouldn't they be allowed to?
UCI could even allow organisers to invite conti teams.
I'm pretty sure neither ASO nor RCS will start a race if an half of the WT teams refuse to ride, and also professional teams are part of the mutiny against races, probably will be easier to field some national teams with riders willing to race.
 
I would take those reports with a very large pinch of salt to be honest. There isn't really a treatment for SARS, lots of companies are attempting to repurpose prior developments for SARS or MERS and see if they are effective against this particular coronavirus. They are notoriously difficult to develop vaccines for. As viruses they are more common in other animals. From the discussion in the other thread we think there is currently one vaccine for a coronavirus in cats and that's it. While they have managed to accelerate the discovery process, the limiting steps are usually the phases of the clinical trials and producing the candidate products, these fail all the time. Add on to this that these viruses mutate extremely quickly, so any vaccine that is effective against this strain wouldn't necessarily be effective against future strains. Basically hopeing a vaccine will contain this is probably a bad idea.
Think the rushing of a vaccine that's improperly tested is actually a bit scary.
 
Bottom line i will wait to see what happens with Paris–Nice. And if the race won't be canceled it will be interesting to see if coronavirus will win the GC.

P.S. If Paris–Nice won't play out i doubt we will see much racing before May.
That's almost sure unless they are going to make a total U turn in couple of weeks when there will be thousand of cases aroud, it's only the 11:15 and in Germany has been already announced 109 new cases, at least there and in France and Spain a ramp up of cases like the one we saw in Italy around the 25 of february is coming, and other countries will follow the wave (Switzerland for example had 37 cases until yesterday then 53 new in a day).
 
Cycling is actually in a rather unique position vis a vis coronavirus; it's sort of a traveling circus where illness can spread very fast among the teams. And unlike other sports, we actually have cases of coronavirus within the sport. What team is going to risk a UAE tour type of situation, having highly paid riders stuck in a hotel rather than training?