The Tirreno-Adriatico organiser RCS Sport cancelled its queen stage scheduled for tomorrow to Monte San Vicino due to cold rain and snow predicted on the course and on the alternative route, as well.
“I don’t want to get myself in a situation where the riders are stuck on the side of the road,” cycling director Mauro Vegni told journalists in a press conference.
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“My helpers were there on the climb this morning, there’s 20 to 30 centimetres of snow. The snow is at 1200 metres today, it could go down to 700 metres by tomorrow. We can’t do this.”
The plan B route is impossible, too. The riders will not race and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx–Quick-Step) will remain the overall leader until Monday.
Vegni added, “If I have to take the riders 70 kilometres in the valley, in cold rain, and put the riders at risk even without an ending point in mind, I don’t want to do it.”
The general classification victory would have been likely decided tomorrow in the Apennine Mountains. RCS Sport planned to cut through the hills, 176 kilometres, from Umbria to Marche.
A final 10-kilometre summit finish to 1208 metres would have decided the day and probably race, which is due to end on Tuesday in San Benedetto del Tronto.
“Given the conditions, we see that there are not the ideal conditions to hold the race,” Vegni added. “The conditions are not right, even at a minimum, to hold the fifth stage.
“We decided not to risk the riders’ health. Even with an alternative course, the plan B does not work. We could hit snow on the other route too, we don’t want to risk having the race and riders stuck on the side of the road.”
In 2003, on the same day, RCS Sport cancelled a stage due to bad weather. “It’s not the first time, the last time was also in Foligno when we cancelled,” Vegni said. “I even joked this morning about not coming back here.”
Saturday evening, Vegni saw the forecast, called in the teams and referred to the new UCI extreme weather protocol. The Paris-Nice organiser ASO used the same protocol on Wednesday to cancel its stage midway to the finish.
“The teams usually are the ones wanted to cut the race, but it was just the opposite today,” Vegni added. “I felt the conditions weren’t right. They heard me, and the decision was clear. They couldn’t say much more than OK.”
With a sprinters’ stage on Monday, the cyclists will likely decide the overall on Tuesday in the 10.05-kilometre time trial. Stybar leads over Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) – all three trailling by nine seconds.