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Organizers of the Giro d’Italia are braced ahead of a potential re-routing of stages through the high Alps in the final week of this year’s race.
With weather in the north of Italy already cool and forecasted to worsen in the coming weeks, crossings of the Stelvio Pass (2,758m) and Colle dell’Agnello (2,744m) are being thrown into doubt.
Stage 20 — the “Queen Stage” — across the Agnello and finishing in Sestriere is most at risk of alteration, with heavy snow likely for the Italian-French border region that plays host to much of the route. Italian outlet L’Eco del Chisone is reporting that a likely detour would remove three of the initially-planned climbs – the Agnello, Izoard, and Montgenèvre, and instead take the peloton toward Pinerolo and the gravelly slopes of the Colle delle Finestre (2,178m) before heading to the planned summit finish atop Sestriere.
Stage 18 to the race’s high point – or “Cima Coppi” – is also at risk of alteration, with organizers reported to be considering replacing the mythical switchbacked Stelvio Pass with the super-steep but considerably lower-lying climb of the Mortirolo (1,852m).
It’s not unusual to see the super-high passes of the Giro binned from race routes when the race plays out in its traditional May dates, and with coronavirus forcing the race into its autumn slot, race organizers RCS were always at the hands of the weather gods. Last year, the race was shorn of the Gavia Pass at late notice after foul weather and the risk of avalanches forced a scrapping of the planned ascent of the 2,618m climb, with organizers using the Mortirolo Pass as an alternative.