Cycling-Italian minister calls for Giro route change following gondola accident

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FILE PHOTO: A crashed cable car is seen after it collapsed in Stresa, near Lake Maggiore

ROME, Italy (Reuters) - The route for Friday's 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia should be changed to avoid the area in northern Italy where 14 people were killed in a cable car accident, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini said on Tuesday.

The cycling race is scheduled to pass through the Mottarone mountain, where the Stresa-Mottarone gondola plunged to the ground on Sunday near the shore of Lake Maggiore, but an alternative route is being discussed.

"Enrico Giovannini asks to change the route of the third last stage of the race out of respect for the victims of the tragedy of the cable car," the transport ministry said in a statement.

"In the technical meeting held yesterday in Stresa with local institutions and authorities, the Minister had agreed on the advisability of changing the route and immediately contacted the organisers."

Initial reports said the cable snapped as the gondola neared the end of its 20-minute journey to the top of the Mottarone mountain.

Colombian Egan Bernal leads the Giro d'Italia after 16 stages of the race.

(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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