What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: 19th Giro stage cancelled because of snow

The nineteenth stage in the Giro d’Italia, from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello, was cancelled this morning because of the snow. Yesterday the stage was already modified. The Gavia (2618 m) and Stelvio (2758 m) – the highest point of this Giro – were left out of the course. Instead the riders would climb the Passo del Tonale (2nd cat.) and the Passo Castrin (1st cat.). The finish stayed at Val Martello at 2059 meters.

About 9:30 this morning the organization decided to cancel the stage because of the snow that was falling. A good decision for the health and safety of the riders. The bad weather also influences tomorrow’s mountain stage. Three climbs in the run-up to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo (1st cat.) are taken out. Only the Passo Tre Croci (2nd cat.) stays on the route. The stage is 210 kilometers long. Francis De Greef is 21st in the GC one day before the penultimate stage.

Marc Wauters, sports director: “When we got up this morning melting snow was falling, we were at about 900 meters. Higher in the mountains the snow stayed on the ground. On the mountain tops it was very cold, around zero to one degree. The highest mountains, the Gavia and Stelvio, were already taken out by the organization yesterday, but we still had to climb above 1800 meters. Around 8:30 we got a message that there were no guarantees the stage would take place and an hour later it was cancelled. It’s not the first time a decision is made so late in Italy, but we also understand the organization. If it’s just a little bit of snow and it stops soon and a couple of hours later it’s better, then you can still start the stage or an alternative. Cancelling a stage is not evident, until the last moment one’s searching for a solution.

“This morning the buses couldn’t get over the mountain top on their way to the start, the safety couldn’t be guaranteed. That moment it was logistically impossible to modify the stage and to move the caravan. This cancellation is the best choice for the safety and health of the riders. It’s a good decision, also with the recent edition of Milan – Sanremo in mind.”

“Around noon we arrived in our new hotel. Where we are now it’s nice weather, we are a few hundred meters lower. After a meal the riders will get on their bikes for an hour or two and then they will get a massage. It’s important they stay in the rhythm, there are still two more days to come. It’s obvious that Vincenzo Nibali is outstanding in the battle for the pink jersey. Now there’s less chance to get changes for the other places in GC. Also Francis De Greef had hoped to move up in the classification.”

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