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."

>>> Nairo Quintana's complete guide ot the Giro d'Italia 2017

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.

Watch: Giro d'Italia essential guide

"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.

>>> Giro d'Italia 2017 start list

"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.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.