• Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) in talks with Mauro Vegni about the rider stoppage during Stage 19 of the 2020 Giro d'Italia. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Heavy rain and rider protests saw Friday’s 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia shortened from 258 kilometres to 124.5.
SBS Cycling Central

24 Oct 2020 - 1:13 AM 

Friday’s stage, scheduled to be the longest of the 2020 Giro, was planned to be a flat 258km ride between Morbegno and Asti, but was reduced by more than half after riders revolted when faced with pelting rain in the northern region of Lombardy.

Just eight kilometres into the stage, the action was then stopped due to the deteriorating weather, and organisers scrambled to redesign the stage. The stage had already been lengthened by five kilometres on Thursday following the collapse of a bridge.

Riders piled into team cars and buses and drove down the route. The race was restarted in Abbiategrasso, with 124.5km to go, after an hours-long delay.

Riders were not happy about the long, flat stage, and began making noises about having the stage reduced after the weather worsened with cooler temperatures and rain. The rider’s group CPA also pressured organisers to alter the route.

Discussions took place on Thursday night, with riders continuing to talk through the situation with race director Mauro Vegni and UCI commissaires before the start in Morbegno.

Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni unleashed a stinging tirade after Stage 19 was shortened without his consent, fuming that “someone will pay for it”.

“I’m very upset about the way this has happened. It isn’t the right way to resolve the issues that we face today,” Vegni told race broadcaster Eurosport. “I think there are going to be some words with lawyers because I don’t feel it’s been respectful to the race, to the people who want to watch the race.

“There will be consequences because of the behaviour of the riders today. The stage was announced a year ago, they knew it was going to happen in October and a rainy day in October is quite a usual thing and 13°C is not cold.”