Giro d'Italia stage 19 shortened to 124km after rider protest

daniel.ostanek@futurenet.com
·4-min read
 ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Start  Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey  Morbegno Village  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Start Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey Morbegno Village during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Start  Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey  Morbegno Village  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Start Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey Morbegno Village during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Start  Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey  Adam Hansen of Australia and Team Lotto Soudal  Nathan Haas of Australia and Team Cofidis Solutions Credits  Ignatas Konovalovas of Lithuania and Team Groupama  FDJ  Miles Scotson of Australia and Team Groupama  FDJ  Protected from the heavy rain and in talks about the possible cancellation of the stage due to rain  Morbegno Village  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Start Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey Adam Hansen of Australia and Team Lotto Soudal Nathan Haas of Australia and Team Cofidis Solutions Credits Ignatas Konovalovas of Lithuania and Team Groupama FDJ Miles Scotson of Australia and Team Groupama FDJ Protected from the heavy rain and in talks about the possible cancellation of the stage due to rain Morbegno Village during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey  Ruben Guerreiro of Portugal and Team EF Pro Cycling Blue Mountain Jersey  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey Ruben Guerreiro of Portugal and Team EF Pro Cycling Blue Mountain Jersey during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

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The Giro d'Italia rolled out of Morbegno but soon stopped after a rider protest
The Giro d'Italia rolled out of Morbegno but soon stopped after a rider protest

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Filippo Ganna of Italy and Team INEOS Grenadiers  Davide Ballerini of Italy and Team Deceuninck  QuickStep  Josef Cerny of Czech Republic and CCC Team  Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Filippo Ganna of Italy and Team INEOS Grenadiers Davide Ballerini of Italy and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Josef Cerny of Czech Republic and CCC Team Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Jonas Gregaard of Denmark and Astana Pro Team  Simone Bevilacqua of Italy and Team Vini Zabu KTM  James Whelan of Australia and Team EF Pro Cycling  Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Jonas Gregaard of Denmark and Astana Pro Team Simone Bevilacqua of Italy and Team Vini Zabu KTM James Whelan of Australia and Team EF Pro Cycling Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

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Riders had to wait in the rain for their team buses
Riders had to wait in the rain for their team buses


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Wilco Kelderman at his Sunweb team car
Wilco Kelderman at his Sunweb team car

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey  Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest  Car  Detail view  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Wilco Kelderman of The Netherlands and Team Sunweb Pink Leader Jersey Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest Car Detail view during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Start  Davide Ballerini of Italy and Team Deceuninck  QuickStep  Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest  Bus  Rain  Detail view  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Start Davide Ballerini of Italy and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest Bus Rain Detail view during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Team EF Pro Cycling  Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest  Connondale Bikes  Bus  Team EF Pro Cycling special Rapha x Palace Skateboards  Landscape  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Team EF Pro Cycling Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest Connondale Bikes Bus Team EF Pro Cycling special Rapha x Palace Skateboards Landscape during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

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"The team buses were escorted from Morbegno to the new start near Milan
"The team buses were escorted from Morbegno to the new start near Milan

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ASTI ITALY  OCTOBER 23 Cars  Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Cars Race neutralised due to heavy rain and team riders protest during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 258km stage from Morbegno to Asti girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia, the longest stage of the race set to run 258km from Morbegno to Asti, has been shortened to 124km after a rider protest at the start on Friday morning.

The new start will be taken from Abbiategrasso, some 25km east of Milan, which would have been passed 134km into the original stage. Race organisers RCS Sport announced that both intermediate sprints would form part of the revamped stage, which starts at 14:30 CET.

Follow the situation in real time with our live stage 19 coverage

On Thursday evening, RCS Sport had announced an additional 5km would be added to the 253km-long stage due to a bridge collapse in Candia Lomellina, prompting riders to question the logic of such a long stage.

Discussions took place on Thursday night, with riders continuing to talk through the situation with race director Mauro Vegni and UCI commissaires before the start in Morbegno.

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It is understood that the riders, led by Lotto Soudal – including CPA union rider representative Adam Hansen – and AG2R La Mondiale, were unhappy about the length of the stage so late in the race after a final week of long stages and early starts, as well long transfers before and after stages.

The peloton rolled out from Morbegno in Lombardy under a downpour 10 minutes later than scheduled, eventually stopping after 8km of the route to wait for team buses ahead of the transfer to the new start.

The move comes after riders had complained about the length of transfers earlier in the race, with Groupama-FDJ's Jacopo Guarnieri taking to Twitter after stage 16 to San Daniele del Friuli to say: "So, in summary, 1 hour 30 by bus this morning, 6 hour 30 by bike and ends with another 2 hour 30 by bus. At least you have an idea why we don't make fire and flames from km 0."

It's far from the first rider welfare complaint at the 2020 Giro. Earlier in the race, riders complained about the state of the race's anti-COVID-19 'bubble', with Jumbo-Visma's Jos Van Emden noting that neutral service, police and the general public wer mixing with multiple teams in race hotels.

The UCI later announced extra rounds of COVID-19 testing and moves to strengthen the 'bubble', in line with recommendations suggested by EF Pro Cycling, who wrote to race organisers to request an early race stoppage due to "a clearly compromised bubble".

Stage 4 was marred by a crash at the finish after a RAI television helicopter blew barriers into the road, taking out Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM riders Etienne Van Empel and Luca Wackermann, with the latter forced out of the race as a result.