Mauro Vegni 'still angry about what happened last year' at Giro d'Italia as stage 16 altered 'to avoid any problems with riders'

Many riders seemed keen to tackle the whole 212km despite the threat of extreme weather but safety has been put first with two climbs cut from the queen stage

Mauro Vegni at the 2021 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty)

Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni says the alteration of stage 16 was a decision made by all parties, one taken proactively to avoid any problems with riders if the weather worsened further, adding it's difficult to stop a race once it's started.

The queen stage has had two of its climbs taken out as extreme weather made the cima coppi of this year's race potentially treacherous, those mountains bypassed in favour of heading straight to the Passo Giau.

"What we really wanted to do here was not just go out and ride along, we wanted to have a proper race so we took the decision to take those two climbs out and try to avoid any sort of problems with riders, and I think we wanted to make a proper race today," Vegni told GCN before the delayed start, adding he thinks there was a chance to complete the stage as originally intended.

"It’s a bit different from the past, we’ve had the time to talk about, talk with the organisers. In my opinion, there was a chance to do the entire stage but of course with the weather conditions we’ve taken two climbs out and we have a real race.

>>> Giro d'Italia stage 16 shortened and climbs taken out due to extreme weather

"Hopefully, we’ve made everyone happy with that decision. It’s difficult to stop the race once it’s started. It’s very different from what happened last year when we discovered everything at the start. This year we’d already talked about this and discussed it."

Last year the Giro descended into chaos after riders refused to ride the long stage 18, Vegni apoplectic after the peloton went on strike until the 258km stage was reduced to 130km.

"I didn’t hear any riders here [this time] because we actually took the decision ourselves and we had a chat with the riders’ representatives and there wasn’t any sort of protest, that’s the sort of thing we wanted to avoid," Vegni explained.

"Either we don’t do the stage or we need to do something different. Either you can ride for the descents or you can get cold, or you can just do the last climb and that one descent, I think it’s totally doable, this is cycling. This was a decision that was taken by everybody."

It seems the events of last year still rankles the Italian, who says his decision on stage 16 was in order to respect both the race and the fans. 

"I’m still angry, really, about what happened last year. It wasn’t respectful towards the race. All the people who went to watch cycling. So this year we’ve taken the decision to try and respect the fans, for the fans that want to see the Giro on the road," Vegni said.