Stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico has been cancelled due to a risk of snow on the climbs during the stage and especially at the finish atop Monte San Vicino in the heart of the Marche region.
Race organiser RCS Sport and chief race judge Jerome Lappartient announced the decision in the press centre of the race following stage 4, confirming that even a Plan B and Plan C route or race were impossible to put in place due to expected bad weather on Sunday.
Tirreno-Adriatico will continue on Monday with stage 6 to Cepagatti. The overall classification is likely to be decided by Tuesday’s final time trial stage in San Benedetto del Tronto. Zdenek Stybar (Etixx-QuickStep) leads Damiano Caruso, Greg and Avermaet and Tejay van Garderen of BMC by nine seconds. Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep) is fifth overall at 11 seconds.
“Considering the forecasts, we’ve agreed that there are not the conditions to race the stage tomorrow,” race director Mauro Vegni said. “The weather is expected to worsen. Even today, my people were on all the stage to check things. Unfortunately, conditions aren’t suitable to hold the race, especially as things will get worse. We’ve decided not to risk the riders health.
"The alternative stage route that we’d presented is not possible because snow is expect over 700 metres, there a risk of snowing on all the climbs of the stage and so we couldn’t risk stopping the riders mid-stage."
Vegni explained that everyone supported the application of the UCI Extreme Weather Protocol, where stakeholders come together and make a combined decision to race, change the stage or even cancel it.
“We’ve followed the Extreme Weather Protocol that was put in place after a year ago by the UCI, with all the stakeholders involved: the head of the race, the chief judge, the police, the race doctor, team representatives and rider representatives to decide things,” Vegni said.
“Even the Plan B stage route we had crossed the Apennines and so there was a risk of having to stop if it snowed. How can you stop a race if the team buses aren’t there? I wouldn’t want to find myself if a very difficult situation. With the finish also out of action, then the stage would be totally different and insignificant.
“My guys checked out the finish climb today and there’s already 20 or 30mm of snow. More is expected to fall tomorrow and today’s temperatures are expected to drop and it will snow at 700m. We don’t to take any risks by letting a race start without knowing where it will finish.”
Vegni insisted there was no point organising a short race in the valley near Foligno that would not offer the same technical characteristics as the planned mountain stage.
“It has no sense to get the riders to race for 70km in the cold and rain. If we can’t have the same race characteristics. it doesn’t make sense. Our Plan B had kept the characteristics of the original stage, taking out the early climbs but keeping the mountain finish. But when you can’t even finish at altitude, the race is just isn’t the same. At the point it wouldn’t make sense.”
Last year the decisive mountain stage of Tirreno-Adriatico to Terminillo finished in the snow but the riders began the final climb in the rain and temperatures of 9C.
In 2003 a stage that was due to start in Foligno was cancelled due to snow and similar weather conditions sparked by the often heavy snow and cold temperatures of he Apennines of the Abruzzo and Marche region.
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