Stage 19 of the 2103 Giro d’Italia, already revised because of bad weather, has been cancelled altogether because of snow along the whole route.
According to a press release from race organizers, “Due to adverse weather conditions and, in particular, snow on the stage route in its entirety, stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia, from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello/Martelltal, has been cancelled.”
The original rout would have climbed the Cat One Passo Gavia and the Hors Categorie Passo dello Stelvia. Snow and extreme cold on these mountain passes caused organizers to change the route, adding the Cat Two Passo del Tonale and Cat One Passo Castrin in place of the first two climbs. The stage would have been 160 km instead of the original 139 km.
An unseasonal snowfall covered the entire route Thursday night and Friday morning. Organizers decided that the extreme cold and the risk of snow and ice on the descents were too extreme, and announced the cancellation of the stage.
No announcement was made regarding Stage 20, the Queen stage of the race, which also includes high-altitude passes in the snowy Dolomite mountains.
Giro d’Italia technical director Mauro Vegni said at a press conference, according to Cyclingnews: “We can finish on top of Tre Cime di Lavaredo for the simple reason that it’s not a descent, and we can clear the road if it snows overnight.
“Snow is cold but it’s primarily risky for safety on the descents: if the temperature drops and the snow freezes, it makes the roads very slippery. But the stage is mainly made up of valley roads and climbing. We’ve designed a route with almost no descents.”
Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling uNion (UCI) which sanctions cycling’s World Tour agreed with the decision.
“The organizers have put the security of riders first and the UCI supports their decision,” he said on the UCI website. “The riders have been racing in very difficult conditions this week, but today those conditions are just too extreme.”