Riders vote unanimously to exclude Umbrail Pass from stage 16 of Giro d’Italia

Umbrail Pass

In a rare display of unity, racers have resolved to boycott stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia unless the course is altered to exclude the Umbrail Pass. The route, with its expected snow, freezing rain, and harsh temperatures, has ignited concern among the riders.

RCS Sport, the race organisers, together with UCI race commissaries and team rider’s association representatives held a meeting on Monday. The aim was to find a balance between guaranteeing the rider’s health and avoiding undue disruption to the race. Subsequently, RCS Sport announced in the afternoon that the stage would go ahead, provided the weather conditions were within acceptable parameters.

The organisers proposed several measures to counteract the severe weather conditions. Extra team vehicles were to be allowed in the race convoy, with race commissaire vehicles on hand to distribute clothing. Additionally, a special ‘parking zone’ was to be established at the summit of the Umbrail Pass. This zone would function as a neutral site, halting the race for three minutes to let riders change their clothing.

The Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) expressed their disapproval of the measures proposed, arguing they were inconsistent with Extreme Weather Protocol (EWP) guidelines and UCI regulation. “The prior meeting’s discussions do not align with EWP guidelines under UCI regulation or the ethics of the sport, especially given the current forecast,” they wrote in a publicly shared letter.

The CPA further highlighted the health risks posed by the conditions, particularly during the descent of the Unmbrail Pass. They criticised the idea of stopping and restarting the race under such conditions, stating that it was outdated and unacceptable. One Directeur Sportif (DS) was quoted saying, “this will be a mess.”

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