President of the UCI, David Lappartient, has said “we must not fall into the systemisation of neutralising things”
Lappartient was speaking generally before some riders and teams called for the finish of stage eight of the Giro d’Italia to be neutralised over purported concerns over rider safety.
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The 239km route, the longest of this year’s Giro, finished with a technical 7km descent, featuring ten hairpins in the final 3km as well as zebra crossings offering up slippy white paint on sharp corners in the run-in to the line.
Ag2r La Mondiale’s Tony Gallopin even went as far as to say pre-race that he thought the finish was “dangerous”, with the Frenchman publicly calling for race organisers and the UCI to explain why it had been allowed to feature in the Grand Tour.
However, warnings of rain in the finish town of Pesaro never materialised and the race concluded without incident. During the race there were rumours of teams calling for the race to be neutralised 6km from the finish, before the peloton would arrive on the technical parcours, but these fell on deaf ears.
Lappartient said: “It’s something that needs to be rediscussed in the background. How far should we stop? The principle of caution should be followed perhaps, but maybe not if it removes a whole part of the spectacle.
“Time is on the line, it is not the case that at 3km just freeze it. It’s also part of a cycling baggage to know how to fight for positions in the sprint. This is a subject that needs to be redefined at the level of the UCI. We must not fall into the systematisation of neutralising things.”
The Frenchman then went on to recall the scenes at the Giro last year where the GC was neutralised and Chris Froome effectively handed the overall victory after the peloton raced only three of the planned ten laps of the Rome city centre circuit due to safety concerns.
“I remember the stage of the Giro last year in Rome ,” Lappartient told L’Équipe. “The pink jersey finished at sixteen minutes but the times were neutralised, we were ridiculous. “
Caleb Ewan won in a sprint finish on stage eight ahead of Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), his first Grand Tour stage victory for his new Belgian team Lotto-Soudal.
Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) holds the pink jersey heading into the stage nine time trial, and should keep it past Monday’s rest day to the following two flat stages on Tuesday and Wednesday.