Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho join coronavirus battle in local communities

Tottenham boss Mourinho has been working with Age UK and community group Love Your Doorstep to deliver vital supplies such as food and medication to those in need. (Twitter: @Age_UK)
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Updated 24 March 2020

Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho join coronavirus battle in local communities

  • The English top flight has been suspended until at least April 30

LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti surprised an Everton fan with motor neurone disease while Jose Mourinho helped deliver care packages as Premier League managers joined in the battle against the coronavirus crisis.
The English top flight has been suspended until at least April 30 due to the pandemic but clubs and managers are pitching in to help vulnerable, isolated people.
Everton manager Ancelotti joined his club’s “Blue Family” community campaign, making a phonecall to Mark Cruise, a 52-year-old Everton fan diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year.
In a video posted on Everton’s Twitter feed, Ancelotti initially caught the disbelieving supporter by surprise.

“Hi Mark, how are you? I’m Carlo,” Ancelotti, 60, said.
“Who is it?,” Cruise replied.
“I’m the manager of Everton. I know that you are a fan of Everton,” said Ancelotti before Cruise responded: “I’m a big fan of you Mr.Ancelotti, you are a top fella.”
The Italian chatted with Cruise about his favorite Everton games, insisting that he should address him as “Carlo,” not “Mr Ancelotti.”
“Usually in Italy, Mr.is a man of great importance. I’m not so important, I’m just a manager,” joked the boss.
He revealed his fears for friends and his sister in Italy, which has been hit hard by the virus.
Tottenham boss Mourinho has been working with Age UK and community group Love Your Doorstep to deliver vital supplies such as food and medication to those in need.

“I came to give some support to Age UK, Enfield and Love Your Doorstep, Enfield, to help people in our club’s local community,” said the 57-year-old, who was photographed packing up supplies wearing a face mask and gloves.
“It is a difficult time for everyone right now, particularly among the elderly, so I want to offer my assistance in any way I can.”
Tottenham’s London rivals Arsenal have pledged £100,000 ($117,000) to local charities fighting the virus. Gunners manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus earlier this month but has now recovered.

 


Vuelta hopes to emulate Tour success with zero infections

Updated 20 October 2020

Vuelta hopes to emulate Tour success with zero infections

  • The Vuelta is getting under way before the Giro finishes next weekend

BARCELONA: The Spanish Vuelta cycling race starts on Tuesday amid tight health restrictions in the hopes of avoiding the coronavirus infections that have knocked some riders, including top contenders, out of the Giro d’Italia.

Primoz Roglic is back to defend his title weeks after he lost the Tour de France on the final competitive stage. Two-time champion Chris Froome will be his main challenger in his final grand tour for Ineos, formerly Team Sky, before he joins Israel Start-Up Nation next season. Thibaut Pinot, Alejandro Valverde and Johan Esteban Chaves are also among the contenders.

Despite the strong lineup, most of the focus will be on the success of the Vuelta’s health protocols.

The Vuelta is getting under way before the Giro finishes next weekend. The two grand tours, like the Tour de France, were postponed because of the pandemic, and the tight calendar forced the Vuelta and Giro to overlap.

The Tour finished without any infections except for race director Christian Prudhomme. The Giro, however, has lost two full teams to the virus. Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma withdrew from the Italian race last week following a series of positive results from the first rest day. Overall contenders Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk were among those who tested positive.

With Spain struggling to contain its own resurgence in cases, Giro director Mauro Vegni said last week “seeing the numbers in Spain, I would be very worried for the Vuelta if I was in (race director) Javier Guillen’s shoes.”

Guillen has tried to reassure the Vuelta participants and staff that the race can be held in safe conditions, following the example of the Tour. Both the Tour and the Vuelta are run by the same company.

“We have worked together on the protocols and exchanged information during the Tour,” Guillen told Spanish sports daily Mundo Deportivo. “The measures taken during the Tour worked to stop COVID-19 and allowed the race to start and finish. I don’t have any information from the Giro.”

All riders and staff for the teams and the race underwent tests on Sunday, with only two staff members testing positive — one from Bahrain-McLaren and another from Team Sunweb. Organizers said 498 tests were conducted, and more would be performed on Monday.

The Vuelta will follow the same procedure as the Tour of repeating the tests on the race’s two rest days.

One difference from the Tour is that at the Vuelta a team will be asked to leave the race if two riders test positive, as opposed to two team members, including staff, at the Tour.

The Vuelta has taken several steps that it hopes will keep the riders healthy and the race going until it reaches Madrid.

The public is encouraged not to gather at finish lines, and organizers will cut off access to the mountain passes that are popular gathering spots for fans to cheer the riders on the grueling ascents. The race is sending the message out on social media asking its fans to stay at home and watch the race from television this year.