The ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull will not disrupt the transfer of the Giro d'Italia peloton from the Netherlands to Italy. Race director Angelo Zomegnan confirmed at the start of stage 3 in Amsterdam that everything should go according to the plan today despite the closure of several European airports this weekend.
Riders are scheduled to head by bus from the stage finish in Middleburg to the Belgian airport of Oostende (approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes), and then fly to the Levaldigi airport of Cuneo.
Two charters flights are scheduled to shuttle 346 people including 197 riders, one plane leaving at 8.30pm, the second at 9pm.
As Italian airports were closed on Sunday due to the dangers posed by the ash cloud, the Giro d'Italia organisers were busy at work on alternative plans which would have consisted of a bus convoy to Luxemburg where the riders would have slept before driving for nine hours during the rest day on Tuesday. "I'm fine with it as long as it's the same for everyone," pink jersey Cadel Evans said on Sunday evening when there were still uncertainties over the possibilities of flying.
"Before coming to Amsterdam, I didn't like the idea that we would have to fly after three days of racing, but now I'm relieved that we don't have to do this trip on the road," French rider Thomas Voeckler told Cyclingnews on the start line in Amsterdam.
It's actually a lucky timing for the riders. The weather forecast in Italy shows a threat of ashes to be blown away again on Tuesday. Had the transfer been organised during the rest day and not after stage 3, it might have become a problem to make it on time for Wednesday's team time trial from Savigliano to Cuneo.
Once Zomegnan confirmed to the team managers that the flights would go forward as scheduled, most of the team busses made their way towards Italy as it was initially planned.