Flooding has led to the cancellation of the first stage of the Giro Donne.
The marquee Italian race had been set to get underway with a prologue time trial around the roads of Chianciano in Siena, in the middle of Italy.
Indeed some of the riders did get out on the course but with increasingly heavy rain and even hail the race was paused.
Jayco-AlUla rider Letizia Paternoster held the fastest time at 5-43 when the race was then later paused for a second time.
But then with rivers of water running down some of the roads the riders were due to negotiate the organiser of the race, alongside the riders union the CPA invoked the extreme weather protocol and cancelled the stage.
Due to weather conditions we decided to apply the EWP and the stage is cancelled. See you tomorrow.@women_cpa @cpacycling #cpawomen #girodonne pic.twitter.com/go8lIcWty3June 30, 2023
Italy has had a tough time with flooding in recent months. Floods further north left thousands of people homeless in May this year.
No time gaps from stage one will count and stage two will effectively be the first stage of the race.
Stage two’s course is potentially a testing time with a single second category climb in the second half with a steady descent to the finish. The Passo dello Colla features a 9.9km ascent at an average of 5.8% and the descent to the finish is quite technical. Doubtless many riders will now fancy their GC chances without any of the gaps from the TT to separate them.
The fact the stage had to be paused twice, both times while a rider was out on the course, risks raising the ire of the riders. The race had already been dogged by concerns about its organisation after only very limited information about the race was available to riders ahead of the trip to Italy, whereas usually route information for big races is out months in advance.
#GiroDonne 🇮🇹The stage has been paused again ❌@rubyr_g was out on course as the decision was made, just like @BakerGeorgia earlier on pic.twitter.com/bAwJFkRJFkJune 30, 2023
Yesterday Lizzie Deignan told Cycling Weekly sister publication CyclingNews: “Obviously, It's not an ideal situation. I'm lucky that I'm not coming to the Giro wanting to win the overall. I don't have an objective to win the pink, but if I did have an objective to win the pink, then if you're trying to win a Grand Tour, you need to know the route in advance to be able to prepare and specifically train for those races," Deignan said.
"It's disappointing and not good enough. But on the other side, I'm pleased that the race had continued and that it wasn't cancelled."
The race has changed ownership in recent years from long time organiser Giuseppe Rivolta to a group of PMG sport/Starlight and it is due to be taken over by men’s Giro d’Italia organiser RCS for four years from 2024.
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