Giro d'Italia abandons plans for 'misunderstood' descending prize after rider backlash

RCS Sport says it has "taken comments on board" regarding prize for fastest descenders

Darwin Atapuma on stage nineteen of the 2016 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Watson)

RCS Sport, the organiser of the Giro d'Italia, has abandoned its plans for a best descender prize that had been widely criticised by riders and teams.

In a statement, the race organisers said that the prize, which would have had a €15,000 prize pot, had been intended to "highlight an important skill which is an integral part of a cycle race putting riders' safety in jeopardy."

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However, following significant criticism of the idea from across the world of cycling, RCS Sport said that it could potentially put rider safety at risk.

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"Comments have been made suggesting that this initiative could be potentially misunderstood and generate behaviours not in line with the safety principle," the statement continued.

"The race organisers have taken these comments on board and changed an initiative that could be misinterpreted.

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"Therefore the race organisers have decided to eliminate all such classification and prize money as per the race regulations, leaving the timekeeping of the descents purely as statistical data for the fans."

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