Coronavirus causes organizers to cancel Italian, Dutch, and Belgian classics.
Team Tibco Silicon Valley Bank will return home after the coronavirus outbreak wreaked havoc on the European racing calendar, resulting in a series of cancelations from Strade Bianche to Gent Wevelgem. The cobbled semi-classic Ronde van Drenthe was next for the team, however, the UCI Women's World Tour race was also struck off the calendar today.
After the Strade Bianche news last weekend, and, before the Belgian government ordered a complete shut down of all sporting events in that country, the team had returned to its Belgian base to continue preparations for Drenthe. Emily Joy Newsom said the team took advantage of the impromptu time off while feeling for her DS, Rachel Hedderman, “who had so much on her shoulders with how to proceed with travel and planning when the race organization was not committing to a decision.”
“She handled it with grace and wisdom, and despite the extra travel that turned out unnecessary, I adored my two-day vacation in Tuscany,” Newsom said. “I made sure to enjoy pizza and wine, take some walks, rest in a peaceful chalet the team had secured for us, and spend quality time with my teammates around a warm fireplace. My main focus around the uncertainty of Strade was maintaining peace and calm both mentally and physically because this was something entirely out of my control.”
It’s been a couple of weeks since Tibco Silicon Valley Bank opened its European spring campaign with Omloop Het Nieuswblad. Looking back, Hedderman said it was a tough start to the 2020 season, but it’s what she expected.
“For half of the team, it was their first experience of spring classics, and I’m happy with the progression that we are making,” Hedderman said. “There is a certain skill to riding these races that comes with experience and practice, so to see an improvement from race to race is encouraging. For us, these races are about learning how the peloton works, gaining confidence and experience, and looking for opportunities.”
The Joe Martin Stage Race in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is next for the Tibco Silicon Valley Bank. The event is scheduled for April 2-5.