By Alex Ballinger published
The Giro d’Italia peloton will tackle three ascents of the Sestriere on stage 20, as the organisers have been forced to redraw the route.
Stage 20 from Alba to Sestriere was initially due to cross the French border to take on the Colle dell’Agnello and the Col de l’Izoard.
But authorities in France have now refused the race access because of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the organisers to rethink the route.
Race director Mauro Vegni says stage 20 on Saturday, the final road stage before the time trial, will climb the Sestriere three times in total, but the total climbing will fall from around 5,500 metres to 4,000 metres.
Vegni told Italian broadcaster Rai: “I announce the change of the penultimate stage, not for reasons related to bad weather, but because the French prefecture have denied the permit for problems related to Covid-19 and this led us to adopt the reserve stage.
“To maintain a minimum of altitude, having no other alternatives, the only one could be Colle delle Finestre but it was not passable due to bad weather, we adopted this plan: we start in Alba, go to Pragelato, climb Sestriere, go down and climb it two more times from the Cesana side. So we will do the Sestriere three times.”
Vegni added: “ We are happy to be able to compete in this stage. I have not counted the vertical meters, they should be around 4000 against the almost 5500 of the original stage.”
The peloton will take on the climb from Perosa once, and then twice from the Cesana side, which is 11km at around 6.1 per cent, finishing the stage at the top of the climb on the third ascent, according to La Flamme Rouge.
Then the Giro d’Italia 2020 will close out with the scheduled 15.7km time trial in Milan to crown the winner of this year's edition.
Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.
Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.
Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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