Team INEOS have withdrawn from racing until March 23 following the sudden death of sport director Nicolas Portal, although the team also cited fears amid the coronavirus crisis.

Former rider Portal passed away on Tuesday aged only 40, having reportedly suffered a heart attack at his home in Andorra.

Following the news, INEOS announced on Wednesday the cycling team would be out of action until the Volta a Catalunya later this month.

They will not compete in the Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo, Nokere Koerse or Bredene Koksijde Classic, although some races are in doubt due to the coronavirus.

The virus has seen a decree in Italy that means the public cannot attend sporting events for 30 days, with Serie A football matches to be played behind closed doors.

Organisers of the Tirreno–Adriatico and Milan-San Remo races confirmed updates would follow in the coming days after meetings with the authorities, with 2502 cases and 80 deaths in Italy.

INEOS highlighted both Portal's death and the virus concerns in a statement that listed reasons for the team's temporary absence.

Team boss 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. It is right for the team given what has happened but I also believe it is in the best interests of both cycling and the wider public. 

"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."

Mitchelton-Scott have likewise withdrawn from racing for the time being, with UAE Team Emirates, Groupama-FDJ, Cofidis and Gazprom-RusVelo still quarantined after the final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled.

Team INEOS have announced that sport director Nicolas Portal died suddenly on Tuesday aged only 40.

Former rider Portal reportedly suffered a heart attack at his home in Andorra.

The popular Frenchman ended his racing career in 2010 due to cardiac arrhythmia, but remained with Team Sky after retiring.

Portal oversaw Chris Froome's four Tour de France triumphs and played his part in Egan Bernal winning the yellow jersey last year after Team Sky became Team INEOS.

A Team INEOS statement said: "It is with the greatest sadness that we announce the passing of our much loved team-mate, colleague and friend Nico Portal who died suddenly this afternoon at his home in Andorra.

"We are all overcome with grief at this terrible news and would ask everyone to respect the family's privacy at this difficult time. 

"RIP Nico - your spirit will always be with us on the road and you will forever be in our hearts."

Froome was among the riders to pay tribute to Portal.

He tweeted: "My thoughts are with Nico's wife and children tonight. He was the kindest, happiest guy I knew and always lived life to the fullest. Rest In Peace Nico."

Portal competed in seven Grand Tours and won a stage at the 2004 Criterium du Dauphine before such a successful career off the bike.

Emma Hinze gave the Berlin crowd a dream finish to the UCI Track Cycling World Championships by winning her third gold medal of the competition.

The 22-year-old lit up day five with victory in the women's keirin final, which followed up her women's pprint crown and her involvement in Germany's team sprint triumph.

Hinze beat South Korea's Lee Hye-jin and Australia's Stephanie Morton into second and third respectively in the last event of the 2020 championships.

Three other events reached their conclusion on the final day, with Great Britain winning their first gold when Elinor Barker triumphed in the points race.

The men's Madison saw Denmark come out on top ahead of New Zealand and hosts Germany. 

Michael Morkov, who spent 34 hours in isolation earlier this week as a precaution relating to the coronavirus, was in the winning team.

He was given the all-clear to compete following his involvement in the UAE Tour, which was cancelled when two managers of a team at the event had suspected cases of the virus.

Men's sprint honours, meanwhile, went to Harrie Lavreysen, who defended his title by beating beat fellow Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland in the gold medal race. 

Chloe Dygert twice smashed her own world record en route to a storming triumph in the women's individual pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships.

The American provided a memorable moment on day five in Berlin, winning the gold medal in a mightily impressive time of three minutes and 16.937 seconds.

Dygert, who was world champion in the same event two years ago, had earlier set a new benchmark on her world-record time set in Apeldoorn in 2018 during qualifying.

German duo Lisa Brennauer and Franziska Brausse took silver and bronze respectively.

Benjamin Thomas of France earned 158 points to take out the men's Omnium world title. Jan-Willem van Schip of Netherlands and Britain's Matthew Walls were second and third.

Lea Sophie Friedrich was the victor of the women's 500 metre time trial, while Dutch duo Kirsten Wild and Amy Pieters triumphed in the women's Madison with 36 points. 

Yumi Kajihara claimed gold in the women's omnium at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships after four-time Olympic gold medallist Laura Kenny suffered a nasty crash in the first race.

Kenny was caught up in a crash that involved five riders during the opening scratch race and required stitches to her right eye.

She could only manage 12th in the overall standings at the end of the closing points race, with Kajihara able to celebrate a world title as she beat Letizia Paternoster and Daria Pikulik to gold.

Emma Hinze gave the home fans in Berlin more to celebrate as she added gold in the sprint to the title she won for Germany in the team sprint.

Hinze overcame Russia's Anastasiia Voinova in the gold medal race, with Lee Wai Sze beating Mitchell Kelsey to bronze.

Ganna Filippo claimed gold for Italy in the men's individual pursuit, while Dutchman Sam Ligtlee won the 1km time trial.

 

Denmark shattered their own world record to become men's team pursuit world champions, while Yauheni Karaliok regained his title in the scratch race on Thursday.

The Danish pursuiters continued a dream UCI Track Cycling World Championships by becoming the first team to go under three minutes and 45 seconds.

Lasse Norman Hansen, Julius Johansen, Frederik Rodenberg Madsen and Rasmus Pedersen romped home in a time of three minutes and 44.672secs in Berlin, knocking eight tenths of a second off their qualifying time that had also set a new benchmark.

New Zealand clinched the silver medal, while Italy topped Australia in the battle for bronze.

In the women's team pursuit, the United States stormed to victory in the final over Great Britain.

Meanwhile, Karaliok reigned supreme in the men's scratch to become world champion in the event for the second time.

The Belarusian, who first became scratch world champion in 2018, broke away with Sebastian Mora – who eventually finished third behind Simone Consonni.

Harrie Levreysen flew to gold in the men's keirin, the Dutchman taking first place ahead of Yuta Wakimoto of Japan.

The women's team sprint brought glory for host nation Germany at the Track Cycling World Championships as records were sent tumbling by the Netherlands in the men's event.

Pauline Grabosch and Emma Hinze delivered opening-day gold for Germany, overcoming Australia in the race for the title in Berlin. China got the better of Russia in the bronze medal race.

The men's team sprint has been dominated by the Netherlands in recent years and Roy van den Berg, Harrie Lavreysen and Jeffrey Hoogland delivered a third successive world title in stunning fashion.

They broke a world record they set in the first round to defeat Great Britain in the gold medal race with a time of 41.225 seconds. Australia took bronze ahead of France.

Earlier, the Netherlands' Kirsten Wild took gold in the women's scratch race. Jennifer Valente of the United States claimed silver, with Portugal's Maria Martins rounding off the podium.

Britain's four-time Olympic champion Laura Kenny narrowly missed out on bronze, edged into fourth just a month after breaking her shoulder.

Lionel Messi and Liverpool are among the front-runners for prizes at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday.

Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

Sportsman of the Year

Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
Lionel Messi – Football
Marc Marquez – MotoGP
Rafael Nadal – Tennis
Tiger Woods – Golf

Sportswoman of the Year

Allyson Felix – Athletics
Megan Rapinoe – Football
Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
Simone Biles – Gymnastics

 

Team of the Year

Liverpool – Football
Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
South Africa – Rugby Union
Spain – Basketball
Toronto Raptors – Basketball
United States Women – Football

Breakthrough of the Year

Andy Ruiz – Boxing
Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Coco Gauff – Tennis
Egan Bernal – Cycling
Japan – Rugby Union
Regan Smith – Swimming

 

Comeback of the Year

Andy Murray – Tennis
Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
Liverpool – Football
Nathan Adrian – Swimming
Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Alice Tai – Swimming
Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
Jetze Plat – Triathlon
Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
Omara Durand – Athletics

 

Action Sportsperson of the year

Carissa Moore – Surfing
Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
Italo Ferreira – Surfing
Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

Chris Froome will return to racing at next month's UAE Tour following a long injury absence.

The four-time Tour de France winner broke a leg, his elbow and suffered fractured ribs after crashing into a wall in a training ride at the Criterium du Dauphine in June. 

Earlier this month the Briton dismissed reports he had suffered a setback in his recovery and on Wednesday the Team INEOS rider provided an upbeat update in a video posted on Twitter.

"Training has been going really well over here in Gran Canaria so I'm really happy to announce I'm going to be starting my season at the UAE Tour next month, starting in Dubai," he said, with the event beginning on February 23. 

"It's a race I missed out on last year so a great place for me to start my season this time around.

"Thanks for all the support and see you out on the road."

Froome turns 35 in May and has seven Grand Tour titles to his name, the most recent coming at the 2018 Giro d'Italia.

Nairo Quintana is in line to compete in this year's Tour de France after Arkea-Samsic were given a wildcard spot. 

The Colombian is a two-time runner-up at the Tour, most recently in 2015, and has won both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana.

Quintana moved to the France-based Arkea-Samsic team from Movistar ahead of the new season, having spent eight years with his previous employers.

The 29-year-old's new team includes Frenchman Warren Barguil, who won the mountain classification at the 2017 Tour, and three-time points classification runner-up Andre Greipel.

This year's edition begins in Nice on June 27, concluding with the processional final stage in Paris on July 19, with Team INEOS' Egan Bernal out to defend his title.

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome has scotched claims his recovery from injury has suffered a setback.

The British rider was seriously injured at the Criterium du Dauphine in June, when he broke a leg, his elbow and suffered fractured ribs after crashing into a wall.

Froome underwent surgery and missed the rest of the season but is gearing up for racing again in 2020 with Team INEOS.

Reports had claimed Froome was struggling to get back to full health, with Team INEOS sports director Dario David Cioni quoted as casting doubt on that prospect.

In quotes widely attributed to Italian publication Bicisport, Cioni is reported to have said: "After two days of training in Spain, Froome, who aspires to the fifth yellow jersey, returns home. He is not well and who knows if he will recover."

Yet Froome has given his side of the story, and stressed the picture is far brighter than has been suggested.

He wrote on Twitter: "Hope that I can set this straight, I was last at a training camp at the beginning of December. My recovery is going well and I will be heading to my next training camp on Thursday. Onward."

Froome, who will turn 35 in May, last won a Grand Tour event when taking victory at the 2018 Giro d'Italia. His Tour de France triumphs came in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, while he also has two wins at the Vuelta a Espana on his impressive list of honours.

As well as returning to the saddle for the annual major events on the cycling calendar, including the Tour in June and July, Froome is also hoping to ride for Great Britain at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this year.

He was one of several riders to take an opportunity in October to visit the route for the Olympic road race, which includes climbs on the lower slopes of Mount Fuji.

Trinidad & Tobago have been stripped of two Pan American Games 2019 medals after Pan Am Sports revealed in a press release that two of the country’s cyclists tested positive for drugs during the Lima, Peru event.

T&T won three medals at the Pan Am games but may now have to return its team cycling gold and an individual cycling medal, with Nicholas Paul’s individual sprint gold the only accolade that remains.

According to reports, T&T have hit back at the Pan Am Games, saying the organisers have breached confidentiality protocol in announcing the decision to rescind the gold medals and had already put the matter before a judiciary panel.

"The information put out by Pan American Sports is currently being challenged by Trinidad and Tobago. Any discussion of reallocation of medals is premature due to the number of things currently being ventilated," said T&T’s team lawyer Tyrone Marcus.

However, Pan Am Sports Secretary-General, Ivar Sisniega insists that no protocols were breached and remained confident that his organisation’s ruling would be allowed to stand.

“We have been very careful with the issue of doping at the Pan American Games of Lima 2019, respecting all the corresponding protocols and processes. After our executive committee meeting, we have officially approved the decisions of the disciplinary commission and the respective disqualifications of the athletes involved, and this has generated the changes we are reporting today. With this, we close the medal table of our Games,” said Sisniega.  

Team Jumbo-Visma have announced their 2020 Tour de France squad six months early, with new signing Tom Dumoulin leading an outfit hunting the yellow jersey.

Jumbo-Visma presented their line-up for the new season on Friday, naming a team for the Tour, which does not begin until June 27.

Dumoulin, who has switched from Team Sunweb, is one of three leaders in France, alongside Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk.

"The goal is definitely to win the Tour," Dumoulin said. "Full on, with three leaders. It was very nice to find out that all three of us are on the same page."

The Dutchman won the general classification at the Giro d'Italia in 2017, collecting nine Grand Tour stage wins across an impressive career.

Roglic claimed the Vuelta a Espana GC in 2019, while Kruijswijk was third behind Team INEOS pair Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas at the Tour.

"Our goal is to win the Tour. I want to be part of that," Roglic said. "I definitely want to be in that team."

Kruijswijk added: "We want to win the Tour as a team. You do that with the strongest riders possible. Look at who we can line up, with Tom, Primoz and myself as leaders. I think we can fight with these guys."

The shift in focus towards the GC means star sprinter Dylan Groenewegen will not enter the Tour, where he has four stage wins.

The 26-year-old will instead target success at the Giro and Vuelta, saying: "You prefer to ride all three Grand Tours every year, but I also have to look at what suits me best.

"Where do I have the best chances? There are a lot of chances in the opening stages of the Giro. We pretty quickly realised that I should ride the Giro.

"And the Vuelta, starting in the Netherlands. Four years ago, I joined the team, and then I said that I want to win [stages] in all the Grand Tours. It will be a very nice year to do that."

World time trial champion Rohan Dennis has signed for Team INEOS on a two-year deal.

The 29-year-old, who retained his time trial crown in Harrogate in September, described the move as "a dream".

It follows a falling out with his former employers Bahrain-Merida, who released Dennis from the final year of his contract after he abandoned the Tour de France following a reported row over his equipment. 

In moving to INEOS, Dennis will add to a line-up that already boasts multiple Grand Tour winner Chris Froome and this year's Tour champion Egan Bernal, as well as last year's victor Geraint Thomas.

"This has been a dream of mine since turning professional," the Australian told his new team's website.

"Watching on from afar, I've always been a huge fan of the team – ever since the early years. It's always been a goal of mine to ride for this team, so to finally fulfil that dream is a brilliant feeling and a huge honour.

"I already feel a connection to this team – a team that really believes in innovation, especially in time trialling, which is obviously something I'm hugely passionate about.

"I hope I can do the team colours proud over the course of my time here."

Team principal Dave Brailsford welcomed the addition of a man with 28 race wins to his name, with a debut expected to come on home soil in 2020.

"We all know what a world-class talent Rohan is," said Brailsford.

"He is one of the best and most exciting time trial riders in modern cycling and we are very pleased to have signed him at Team INEOS."

Chris Froome has undergone successful surgery to remove metalwork from his hip and elbow as he continues his recovery from several serious injuries.

Four-time Tour de France champion Froome has been out of action since June, after he sustained a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow and fractured ribs in a crash on a training run for the Criterium du Dauphine.

The 34-year-old underwent emergency surgery in France before beginning his recovery, with Team INEOS providing a video update on Froome's progress in August.

Froome, who is hopeful of participating in the 2020 Tour de France, confirmed on social media in September that he was back on the road, subsequently taking part in the time trial event at the Saitama Criterium, alongside team-mate and 2019 Le Tour champion Egan Bernal.

On Friday, Froome provided a further update, revealing he has had the surgery required to remove the metalwork from his body had been a success.

"Less (sic) some hardware from my hip and elbow," Froome tweeted. "Feeling groggy but all went perfectly."

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