By Jonny Long
Giro d'Italia race director Mauro Vegni is set for crunch talks with Italian health officials next week over the rescheduled three-week stage race.
As a revamped route is drawn up, with Palermo apparently replacing Budapest as the location of the opening time trial stage, the Italian Grand Tour is likely to have to accommodate strict health protocols to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
At present, the Italian government would require riders, team staff and all involved with the race to quarantine for two weeks should there be a positive coronavirus test. Walter Ricciardi, the Italian representative to the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it would not be possible to shorten this quarantine period but "there may be an alternative plan".
Italian news outlet TuttoBiciWeb report Vegni will meet with government officials next week to discuss the upcoming race, now scheduled for October 3-25, with items such as the Grande Partenza, stage starts and finishes and whether the race will be held behind closed doors all on the agenda.
With the Hungarian Grande Partenza postponed, it is understood the Eastern European nation will swap places with Sicily, who were slated to host the start of the 2021 Giro. An opening time trial of similar length to the Budapest offering will be held in the island's capital of Palermo, while stage two will now borrow stage four's original route from Monreale to Agrigento, and stage three then finishing on Mount Etna.
Two new stages will make up the numbers in the first week in the south of the country so that the main mountain showpieces remain in their weekend slots, where the potential TV audience is maximised.
Some restrictions on the number of spectators allowed at the start and finish are also expected to be decided at the meeting, while TuttoBiciWeb says a separate UCI decision is expected on Tuesday which will firm up the provisional revised WorldTour calendar.
As announced previously, Vegni is expected to reveal the finalised Giro d'Italia route at the end of June or start of July.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.