Giro's final week bridled by removal of major climbs

Chilling temperatures and forecasts of snow have forced Giro d'Italia organisers RCS to rethink the final week of the Italian Grand Tour.

Stages 19 and 20, among the Giro's most decisive mountain finishes, have been drastically altered, changing the character of the race with only five days to go.

The Passo di Gavia, Passo di Stelvio and Tre Cime di Lavaredo are all snow-covered, and temperatures are to be close to freezing from altitudes of 1500m and above.

The top of the Stelvio is expected to be between nine and 13 degrees below, Friday, while the Tre Cime, the summit finish to Saturday's epic final mountain stage, is expecting a significant snow fall.

The race has already been bettered by the elements once, the Col du Galibier stage was truncated by snowfall, Sunday but organisers did manage a compromise with the race finishing only marginally before the summit.

The same won't be possible for Friday and Satuday, and RCS is now reportedly in the process of redesigning the stages almost from scratch.

Alternative summit finishes can't be at high altitude limiting the Giro's options, but among the candidate climbs are the Motirolo and Falzarego.

Whatever the decision of the route redesign, a weaker final week will play into overall leader Vincenzo Nibali's hands. The time trial, Thursday, all the more important for his challengers.

SBS will broadcast daily highlights at 6:00pm, plus show eight key stages live on SBS TWO and online right here at Cycling Central.

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