Crostis descent remains in Giro d'Italia stage 14 route

Race organisers confirm the difficult descent, but now fear snow at altitude

As the Giro heads north into the mountains, race director Angelo Zomegnan has made it clear that Saturday's 14th stage will include the testing descent of the Crostis climb before the finish on Monte Zoncolan. Riders and sports directors have questioned the safety of the descent, especially after the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt on the descent of the Passo del Bocco on stage three.

Alberto Contador was stunned by difficulty of the descent when he rode the stage two weeks before the start of the Giro. The top section is on dirt roads and there are sudden drop offs on several corners that have been fitted with nets used in Alpine ski competitions.

The maglia rosa has continued to question the need for the descent in recent days and his team manager Bjarne Riis has spoken about the impact of the decision taken by race organisers to stop team cars following riders on the descent. Each team can follow their riders on a motorbike carrying spare wheels and can then follow carrying a team bike on the Zoncolan.

Technical race director Mauro Vegni showed team representatives a video of the descent during the rest day transfer and Zomegnan showed Cyclingnews a text message he had received from David Millar confirming that the riders were satisfied with the safety measures adopted by the organisers.

"I've had other messages too, including from Contador but I don't need a yes from riders to decide if a descent is safe. I want to make it clear that it's the race who decides things. Not the riders, not the media and certainly not people like Bjarne Riis. I especially won't accept lessons about the sporting aspect of cycling from him.

"The Crostis was in terrible condition until a month ago, but now it's actually safer than the other descents. If only all the descents were as good as the Crostis is in now.

"The riders will have mechanical assistance with them during the descent because every team can have a motorbike following their riders. We've got a plan A, a plan B, a plan C and even a plan D. We'll monitor things all the time, right up to the start of the stage before making a final decision."

Zomegnan admitted that it was not the descent Crostis that is worrying him the most at this point, but the expected bad weather forecast for the next few days. It could even snow at altitude, forcing the Giro to miss some of the biggest climbs.
 

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