The organisers of the 2019 Giro Rosa have been forced to cancel the summit finish on the Passo Gavia, which was to be the finish of stage 5 on July 9, due to unexpected landslides and bad weather in the area. The conditions have forced authorities to intermittently close the roads to traffic.
Organisers confirmed the initial reports that pointed to the race traveling to Bormio and then turning left, up to the hairpin turns and past the Torri di Fraele, before finishing the climb at the nearby Cancano dam - the location of two lakes: Cancano and San Giacomo - in Valdidentro.
"The stage will end in Laghi di Cancano like in 2011," the CPA told Cyclingnews. The organisers followed with an announcement that provided additional details of the re-routed stage 5.
"During the afternoon, a local meeting in Alta Valtellina took place to verify the safety of the road from Bormio to the Gavia Pass through Santa Caterina Valfurva. Due to a landslide above the road, the finish of the stage 5, with start in Ponte Valtellina, has been moved to the top of the climb to the Laghi di Cancano, Valdidentro (Sondrio).
"The stage route is unchanged until passing from Valdisotto, then the race goes up to Le Motte, before reaching Isolaccia, where the final climb begins."
The final to Valdidentro was used for stage 8 of the 2011 Giro Rosa won by Emma Pooley.
This edition of the Giro Rosa was designed to be the toughest edition yet with the inclusion of two summit finishes - Passo Gavia on stage 5 and Montasio on stage 9 - and an uphill time trial in Teglio on stage 6.
The original stage 5 route, 100.7km from Ponte in Valtellina to the summit of Passo Gavia, was to be the first real test for the overall classification contenders. The stage, held in the Valtellina region, included an initial category 2 climb over Teglio at 18km. The peloton would then descend before gradually climbing to the intermediate sprint at Bormio. The race was then routed through Santa Caterina and into the base of the daunting category 1 Passo Gavia.
The summit of the 13km mountain pass stands at an altitude of 2,652 metres, and was noted by organisers as the 'Cima Coppi' - the highest point - of this edition of the Giro Rosa.
Defending champion, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), recently wrote a blog for Cyclingnews that highlighted the Passo Gavia. She noted the unusual amount of snow that was still at the top when she visited the area for a training camp two weeks ago.
She noted that there were walls of snow lining the roads that were three metres tall. There were also reports that the area got more snow last week and that that authorities were forced to close the Gavia over safety concerns.
"The lake at the top was still frozen when we were there," Van Vleuten wrote. "Tall snow walls were lining the roads near the top that were three metres high. I've since heard that they got more snow and had to close it. Hopefully it will be open when it's time for us to race up it."
The CPA announced last week that the head of its women's chapter, Alessandra Cappellotto, would be handling the Extreme Weather Protocol for the Giro Rosa.