President of UCI road commission asks Giro organisers to drop controversial new prize

A new competition for the best descender at the Giro d’Italia has been criticised by a senior figure at the UCI, who also approached the Giro organisers to drop the idea.

In a tweet sent on Tuesday, Tom Van Damme, the president of the UCI Road Commission, described the new competition as “an unacceptable idea” that goes against current measures to improve the safety of professional cycling.

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Van Damme also approached Giro d’Italia organisers RCS Sport to ask them to drop the new classification, with the plans for the new prize being abandoned on Wednesday.

The new ‘Pirelli Premio Miglior Discesista’ prize would have seen €500 awarded to the quickest rider down each of 10 downhill sectors over the course of the three week race. The overall fastest rider down all 10 sectors would also have pocketed €5,000.

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However the competition, which is sponsored by tyre manufacturer Pirelli, had been criticised by many riders, with some condemning the prize as “life-threatening”, particularly in the light of the recent death of 21-year-old American rider Chad Young following a crash in the Tour of the Gila.

The 2017 Giro d’Italia starts in Sardinia on Friday, May 5, and concludes three weeks later in Milan on Sunday, May 28.