The snow and bad weather has made this year's Giro d'Italia one of the most testing editions of the Corsa Rosa ever, and the riders still in the peloton after 16 difficult stages are likely to face even more testing conditions before the end of the race in Brescia on Sunday.
Snow, rain and cold conditions are forecast for the rest of the week in northern Italy, with a cold front expected to dump snow on the Dolomites and force race organiser RCS Sport to cut several of the legendary climbs scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
Snow is expected above 1500m and so all the high climbs are at risk, including the Passo Gavia (2618m) and the Passo dello Stelvio (2758m -the Cima Coppi, the highest climb in this year's race) on Thursday and the Passo Costalunga (1745m), Passo San Pellegrino (1918m), Passo Giau (2236m) and the Passo Tre Croci (1805m). Temperatures of -14C are forecast for the summit of the Passo Stelvio.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Thursday's mountain time trial near Trento will be held as planned but both mountain stages will be affected and almost certainly changed.
Race directors Mauro Vegni and Stefano Allocchio and their staff are working on alternative routes. The stages will start in Ponte di Legno and Silandro but avoid the high passes. RCS Sport hopes both stages will finish as planned in the Val Martello (2059m) and at Tre Cime di Lavaredo (2304m) but are ready to move the finishes down the climbs to ensure the stages are not cancelled.
A final decision is likely to be made after more accurate weather forecast after Thursday's mountain time trial from Mori to Polsa.