UCI claim sporting aspect of the race was at risk
The UCI commissaries at the Giro d'Italia have announced that the Crostis climb has been cut from Saturday's fourteenth stage because the measures put in place by organiser RCS Sport do not adequately protect the sporting aspect of the race.
RCS Sport had issued a detailed protocol for the teams to follow during the stage, with only a team motorbike carrying wheels allowed to follow the riders on the very technical descent. This was deemed insufficient to guarantee the sporting aspect of the sport and so failed to respect UCI road racing rules.
"Although the Organizer has put in place all the necessary measures to ensure the riders’ safety, following the complaints of the Team Managers because of the impossibility to ensure an optimal sport management at the end of the stage (as the team cars cannot operate normally by following the race course for 37,2 km) and after an analysis of the proposal done by the Organizer to solve this problem, the Panel of Commissaires does not judge this proposal sufficient," the official communiqué reads:
"Consequently, the Panel of Commissaires make the following decision :
"Not to authorize the entire unfolding of the stage as it was defined in the Technical Guide of the Giro. The ascent of Monte Crostis and the following descent are therefore eliminate from the race route."
There had been long and detailed negotiations between the riders, teams and organisers, especially in the light of the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt on stage three. Everyone accepted that the descent had been made safe but it seems complaints were made to the UCI by team managers. A final decision was only made at 9:00pm after Friday's stage to Grossglockner.
Race director Angelo Zomegnan was forced to accept the decision of the UCI judges but was left with egg on his face after vehemently insisting the Crostis would stay in the race.
"It's a decision of the judges that we don't agree with but which we have to accept," Zomegnan told Cyclingnews.
"They've now decided not accept our idea of using motorbikes to offer mechanical assistance to the riders on the descent of the Crostis."
Technical race director Mauro Vegni negotiated with the race judges for several hours after Friday's stage but was forced to accept their jurisdiction.
"What was introduced to us as a safety problem suddenly became a sporting problem today," Vegni told Cyclingnews.
"They have found another way to prevent this stage happening as it was planned. It's a pity because a lot of hard work has been done to make sure the stage was safe. The route was discussed and okayed by the riders in Catania before the transfer on Sunday."
"We wanted to show the public something new and special. We didn't hear any objections from the riders or teams today but we understand that they complained to the UCI judges."
"I'm sorry that things have changed. It's definitely not our decision. It's been imposed on us by the judges designated by the UCI."
The revised stage will be 190km long. It starts in Lienz, Austria at 12:00 end on the Monte Zoncolan.