The route for the queen stage of this year's Giro Rosa may be subject to a last minute change, as a landslide risk has put an ascent of the Gavia pass under threat.
The 10-day race, which kicks off on Friday June 5, is set to offer up the hardest parcours in the event's 30-year history, with the Gavia featuring on stage five.
However, threat of a landslide has closed the road between Bormio and Santa Caterina Valfurva - making the planned route impossible.
An official statement is yet to come from the organisers, but CPA Women, which represents the rights and interests of elite female cyclists has said: "We are in constant contact with GiroRosa Iccrea organizers, this morning they will take a decision on the stage of the Gavia.
"However, the organisers have an alternative route and technically the stage will still be very demanding."
It is believed that the route planners may be able to send the riders up the Ponte di Legno side of the Gavia, instead.
Ridden this way, the climb is 17.3 kilometres long, with an average grade of 7.9 per cent, as opposed to 25.6km at 5.5 per cent from Bormio.
Others suggest the race will finish at Laghi di Cancano, as it did for stage eight, in 2011.
The 100km stage from Ponte in Valtellina to the summit of the Passo Gavia has been highlighted as a key day in the race.
Commenting on the routing, Trek-Segafredo women’s DS and former pro Giorgia Bronzini said: “[This] is the hardest stage of the tour. Of course the Gavia will be the biggest challenge, but the opening climb is not easy and will be a big factor in the stage."
The Gavia has proven tempestuous for Italian organisers this year. The pass had to be cut from stage 16 of the men's Giro d'Italia route, due to heavy snowfall and cold temperatures which failed to melt icy sections on the subsequent descent.
This year's Giro Rosa route includes more climbing than any before it - with a summit finish on the Malga Montasio as well as the planned Gavia ascent.
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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