Manager of the Italian cycling team Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM, Luca Scinto, has lashed out at EF Pro Cycling after reports that the American team called for the Giro d'Italia to be scrapped.
EF Pro general manager Jonathan Vaughters denied reports that they had asked for the race to be called off but warned that it could become chaotic if there were further positive tests and said race organisers RCS should not push their luck.
Five teams were hit by Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the first rest day, with two of them pulling out of the three-week grand tour, which finishes in Milan on 25 October.
"This is a suggestion, we are not threatening to leave the race," Vaughters told Eurosport on Thursday.
"When we look at 11 positive tests on the last rest day, that brings you to a 2% positive rate in the race bubble," he said, adding that the bubble risked being pierced.
"Given the close quarters of hotels, of the peloton and that there is inevitably some interaction between teams in the race, we thought it was our responsibility to ask RCS not to push their luck... it could become chaotic."
That statement from Vaughters has raised the ire of his counterpart at Vini Zabu.
"They don't show respect to the Giro d’Italia and to cycling," said Vini Zabu manager Scinto.
"This is a very complicated moment. We have to fight against Covid in every way we can. Now and in 2021.
"Why did these teams say nothing during the Tour de France? When France was close to 20,000 new cases each day? A race where some team members were found positive for Covid.
"No one said anything, now they come here to the Giro d'Italia and create chaos.
"If I was them I’d be ashamed because they should pay respect to the Giro d’Italia and to their sponsors and of the teams that want to arrive to Milan."
The Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma teams have already withdrawn from the race due to positive tests for Coronavirus.