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Cadel Evans (BMC) was blown away by NIbali
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Most of the riders and teams in the Giro d'Italia peloton were pleased that race organiser RCS Sport decided to cancel stage 19 of the race due to adverse weather conditions.
Many of the teams were staying close to the start in Ponte di Legno and had awoken to see snow again covering their team cars and team buses.
When they heard the news that the stage had been cancelled, they took to Twitter.
Paul Martens of the Blanco team summed up how the riders felt in his tweet: "Stage cancelled. It was a tough decision for the organisation but also a brave one. Thank you. The fans will understand it with this conditions."
Local resident Daniel Oss of BMC tweeted: "Thanks for the decision. We'll make up for it next time by putting on a great show. #RideFastRideSafe
Koen de Kort (Argos-Shimano) tweeted: "Call me crazy but I would have loved to have done Gavia and Stelvio but in this weather canceling the stage the only right&healthy decision."
Evans focused on the final mountain stage
Cadel Evans give his thoughts in an audio message releases by the BMC team as he travelled to his next hotel in the team bus.
"We normally take the bus to go to the stage start but we're taking the bus to the finish and the hotel after the finish," he said.
"Looking at the snow this morning and the weather of the last 24 hours, my question was 'How could you ever have a race?' Then this morning they announced that we don’t have a stage. It's always possible to pass these passes on a bike but to be healthy and stay safe, it's quite impossible and so the organisers have done the right thing. It's a pity for the communities who invested in the race and we're sorry for them but we can't control the weather."
Evans is second overall, 4:02 behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) but leads Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) by just ten seconds. With time bonuses of 20, 12 and 8 seconds up for grabs at the stage finish, the climb to Tre Cime di Lavaredo could decide the podium places.
"The day will still be full anyway and we need to train. Tomorrow is going to be an important day and because there's no racing today, it's going to be an even more important day than it would have been," he said.
"We have to train and prepare for that. While we have an opportunity to rest, we have utilize that moment to recover as best as possible and be at our best for tomorrow."
No objections from Team Sky
Uran was one of the men with the most to gain on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia, but Team Sky had no objections to the cancellation of the stage.
“We haven't seen much of the route but we've seen pictures like everyone else. It just came down to rider safety and there aren't a lot of other options," directeur sportif Marcus Ljungqvist said, according to the team’s website.
"Everybody knew the risk of high mountain finishes in May in the Dolomites but I don't think anybody expected it to be this bad. They've been unlucky and it's too bad for the fans, the organisation and everyone."
"It would have been great with good weather on clear roads with the scenery and the helicopter shots but it's about making a good bike race that is safe for the riders."
Team Sky will stay in stage 20 start town Silandro on Friday evening. Given the miserable conditions in the area, it is likely that their riders will be restricted to a spell on the turbo trainer when they arrive at the hotel in the afternoon.
“It's raining right now where we are but it's just above freezing. We'll get to the new hotel and see what we do. The guys will probably jump on the home trainers,” Ljungqvist said.
UCI praises RCS Sport for putting rider safety first
"The UCI acknowledges the decision of the organisers of the Giro d’Italia to cancel today’s 19th stage in the interests of rider security. The organisers RCS Sport at first modified the course in order to try to avoid adverse weather conditions, but finally cancelled the stage completely due to snow predicted along the entire route."
"The organisers have put the security of riders first and the UCI supports their decision,” said UCI President Pat McQuaid. “The riders have been racing in very difficult conditions this week, but today those conditions are just too extreme."