The perils of holding races in the high mountains at this time of the year were exposed again as the Tour of the Alps and the Tour of Croatia were forced to cut short their respective stages for Wednesday.
For the Tour of the Alps, it’s the second modification in the space of two days, after Tuesday’s stage 2 was shortened by some 40km to sidestep the snowy conditions up the Brenner Pass.
For Wednesday’s stage 3 in the Tyrol region of northern Italy, it’s the Passo delle Erbe, peaking at nearly 2000 metres, that bites the dust, again due to heavy snowfall on Tuesday evening. The organisers seemingly had a contingency plan in place, however, and have re-routed the race up the nearby Terento climb instead, maintaining the balance of the stage and inflicting only a minor change to the total distance – 135.6km down from 143.1km.
“The Passo delle Erbe got caught up in the snow too, but who said we were caught off guard?” read a tweet from the organisers, publishing the new stage profile.
Along with the start and finish locations, the second half of the stage remains unchanged, and race leader Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), along with a raft of fellow Giro d’Italia hopefuls, will still head up the tough Alpe Rodengo some 40km before the uphill finish in Villnöß.
At the Tour of Croatia, the snow has had a more damaging impact.
The mammoth summit finish up Sveti Jure on Biokovo, Croatia’s second highest peak at 1762 metres, has had to be dramatically curtailed so, instead of climbing the 27km to the top, the riders will finish at Vrata Biokova, 12km up the climb at an altitude of 860 metres.
The total distance has therefore been cut from 123km to 107.7km, with the stage start in Trogir pushed back to 14:25 CET.
The stage was one of two mountain days in the six-stage race, with a summit finish on Ucka set for stage 5 on Saturday.