Giro d'Italia on brink of cancellation after COVID-19 hits 5 teams

VIDEO SHOWS: FILE FOOTAGE OF 2020 GIRO D'ITALIA ROUTE PRESENTATION, STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF MITCHELTON-SCOTT CYCLISTS, STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF JUMBO-VISMA RIDER, STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK AND TEAM SUNWEB RIDER, MICHAEL MATTHEWS, STATEMENTS FROM MITCHELTON-SCOTT, JUMBO-VISMA AND TEAM SUNWEB POSTED ON THEIR TWITTER PAGES SHOWS: MILAN, ITALY (FILE - OCTOBER 24, 2019) (RCS - NO USE ITALY) 1. GIRO D'ITALIA TROPHY ON STAGE AT PRESENTATION CEREMONY 2. VARIOUS OF CEREMONY IN PROGRESS INTERNET (OCTOBER 13, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 3. STATEMENT WRITTEN ON MITCHELTON-SCOTT'S TWITTER PAGE, READING (ENGLISH): "#GIRO UPDATE: WITH THE HEALTH OF RIDERS & STAFF OUR PRIORITY, WE HAVE WITHDRAWN FROM THE @GIRODITALIA AFTER RESULTS OF THE REST DAY COVID-19 TESTING, OUR 3RD ROUND OF TESTING IN 3 DAYS, REVEALED POSITIVE RESULTS FOR SOME OF OUR STAFF." BAGNERES-DE-BIGORRE, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 18, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 4. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF SIMON YATES CELEBRATING AFTER WINNING A STAGE OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE LIMOUX TO FOIX PRAT D'ALBIS, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 21, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 5. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF YATES RACING 6. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF YATES ON PODIUM 7. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF YATES CYCLING IMOLA, ITALY (FILE - SEPTEMBER 25, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 8. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF MITCHELTON-SCOTT'S EDOARDO AFFINI (BLUE KIT) COMPETING FOR ITALY IN ACTION DURING THE UCI WORLD CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS' MEN'S ELITE INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL SANDEFJORD, NORWAY (FILE - MAY 31, 2019) (NTB SCANPIX - NO USE NORWAY) (MUTE) 9. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF AFFINI ON THE PODIUM AFTER WINNING STAGE FOUR OF THE 2019 TOUR OF NORWAY SAINT-PEE-SUR-NIVELLE TO ESPELETTE (FILE - JULY 28, 2018) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 10. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF MITCHELTON-SCOTT RIDER MICHAEL HEPBURN RIDING IN THE STAGE 20 OF THE 2018 TOUR DE FRANCE - A 31-KILOMETRE INDVIDUAL TIME TRIAL SAINT-GIRONS TO FOIX, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 14, 2017) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 11. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF AUSTRALIAN DAMIEN HOWSON AHEAD OF STAGE 13 OF THE 2017 TOUR DE FRANCE GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA (FILE - APRIL 10, 2018) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 12. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF AUSTRALIAN CAMERON MEYER WAVING ON THE PODIUM AFTER WINNING GOLD IN THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES MEN'S INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL 13. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF MEYER COMPETING IN THE TIME TRIAL INTERNET (OCTOBER 13, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 14. STATEMENT WRITTEN ON TEAM JUMBO-VISMA'S TWITTER PAGE, READING (ENGLISH): "#GIRO @S_KRUIJSWIJK WILL NOT APPEAR AT THE START OF THE TENTH STAGE OF THE GIRO D'ITALIA. KRUIJSWIJK TESTED POSITIVE ON COVID-19 ON THE REST DAY. AS A RESULT, HE HAS TO LEAVE THE RACE." BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (FILE - JULY 4, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 15. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF KRUIJSWIJK ON THE PODIUM DURING THE TOUR DE FRANCE TEAMS' PRESENTATION PAU, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 19, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 16. TWO STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF TEAM JUMBO-VISMA RIDER STEVEN KRUIJSWIJK COMPETING IN STAGE 13 OF THE 2019 TOUR DE FRANCE - A 27.5-KILOMETRE INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL INTERNET (OCTOBER 13, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 17. STATEMENT WRITTEN ON TEAM SUNWEB'S TWITTER PAGE, READING (ENGLISH): "TEAM SUNWEB'S @BLINGMATTHEWS WON'T START #GIROFLAG OF ITALY STAGE 10 TODAY AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19" BINCHE, FRANCE (FILE - JULY 8, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 18. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF TEAM SUNWEB RIDER MICHAEL MATTHEWS BEFORE THE START OF STAGE THREE OF THE 2019 TOUR DE FRANCE STORY: The Giro d'Italia was on the brink of cancellation on Tuesday (October 13) after five teams were hit by COVID-19 cases on the first rest day of the three-week grand tour with almost two weeks left until the finish in Milan. The Mitchelton-Scott team withdrew from the race after four staff members tested positive for the coronavirus following top rider Simon Yates pulling out last week. A rider from Jumbo-Visma, a Team Sunweb rider, one staff member from Ineos-Grenadiers and AG2R-La Mondiale also returned positive tests, organisers RCS said. RCS, in a joint statement with the International Cycling Union (UCI), said the teams' doctors had ordered "isolation measures". Sunweb said Australian Michael Matthews had tested positive and was asymptomatic, with Jumbo-Visma saying on Twitter their rider Steven Kruijswijk had returned a positive result and would leave the race. Mitchelton-Scott said the team were notified of the four positive results for staff members from tests done on Sunday. Yates, who like Kruijswijk had been among the pre-race favourites, withdrew on Saturday after testing positive for the virus. Kruijswijk was 11th overall, 1:24 behind race leader Joao Almeida of Portugal and 27 seconds behind double champion and fifth-placed Vincenzo Nibali of Italy. Riders in the Giro stay in a biosecure bubble when not on the road, just as they did for the Tour de France, which finished on Sept. 20. No riders tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 while on the French tour. On the Tour de France, two positive tests in a team within one week would have triggered the ejection of the outfit from the race but no such rule was put in place for the Italian grand tour, which started in Sicily on Oct. 3. Italy, which hosted the rescheduled world championships last month, has seen a recent rise in coronavirus cases, with a post-lockdown record 5,456 people infected registered last Saturday (October 10). Elite racing resumed in August after a four-and-a-half month hiatus, but the resurgence of COVID-19 in Europe has forced local authorities and organisers to cancel races, such as the Netherlands' Amstel Gold Race, which had been scheduled for Saturday (October 17), and Paris-Roubaix, the "Monument" classic that was due to be raced on Oct. 25. (Production: Tim Hart)