The Giro d’Italia’s grand finale may undergo a re-write as forecasts predict cold temperatures and snow.
“It’d be a shame not to have Tre Cime di Lavaredo decide the Giro’s GC,” technical director, Mauro Vegni told Cycling Weekly this morning. “They are predicting bad weather and it’s clear, those two stages are at risk.”
The Corsa Rosa confronts its last two high-mountain stages to Val Martello on Friday and Tre Cime di Lavaredo on Saturday. The race ends with a flat stage in Brescia the following day.
Both stages cover passes above 2000 metres. The arrival up Val Martello, a first for the Giro, climbs the famous Gavia (2618m) and Stelvio (2758m).
Vegni will send RCS Sport staff to the climbs tomorrow to monitor the situation directly. He added, “I prefer that the information arrives from my people, who maybe are ex-cyclists and can understand the risks, in the climbs and on the descents.”
His plan B would be to take the riders east from Ponte di Legno, through Val di Sole and Valle di Silandro to enter Val Martello from the east. The option would keep the race at lower altitude, but nix some of the Giro’s most famed climbs.
The Giro faces a more difficult problem for the Tre Cime di Lavaredo stage.
“It’d be great to have a plan B that would take us to Tre Croci, below Tre Cime, but you have to climb Giau. If it is snowing on Tre Cime [2304m], we will for sure face snow on Giau at 2236 metres,” Vegni explained. “So, I have to go around Giau and figure out how many kilometres it would be. The problem in that area, all the other passes are high and we’ll face snow on them, as well.”
Cycling dealt with its fair share of weather-related problems this year. Cold weather forced organiser to cancel Kruune-Brussels-Kruune and many other races. On Sunday, the stage to Galibier was at risk, but a patch of good weather moved in and saved Vegni from additional headaches. The stage continued nearly as planned, crossing Mont Cenis, but finishing at Le Granges instead of the Col du Galibier four kilometres up at 2642 meters.
Vegni said since he started 20 years ago, he has never dealt with a Giro d’Italia this bad. He recalled 1995 when heavy rain caused an avalanche on the Colle dell’Agnello and forced a re-route to Pontechianale instead of Briançon. The following year, the Giro returned to Briançon to repay the city’s investment.
He will not take any re-route decisions for the Val Martello and Tre Cime di Lavaredo stages until the morning of the stage.
“I’m not even able to enjoy these days,” he added. “All of my attention is focused on Val Martello and Tre Cime.”