Giro d'Italia: Iconic Stelvio climb removed from stage 16 over avalanche fears

Heavy snow and soaring temperatures have made the race's most famous mountain too dangerous to include, forcing RCS into a last-minute redesign

Clock20:52, Tuesday 14th May 2024
The iconic hairpins of the Stelvio pass

© Getty Images

The Giro d'Italia route has had to be altered slightly due to heavy snow and the threat of avalanche on the iconic Stelvio

The Giro d’Italia will no longer tackle the fearsome Stelvio climb at this year’s edition due to a heightened risk of avalanches.

Race organisers RCS have announced that stage 16, which was intended to feature the 19.6km climb in the first 60km of racing, has been re-drawn because of safety concerns.

Heavy snowfall in recent weeks meant the Stelvio was unpassable, and after pictures emerged of huge cracks in the roads on the iconic mountain, its exclusion from the race was expected.

“The recent snowfalls on the Stelvio Pass, followed by the rise of the temperatures, are increasing the risk of avalanches,” the organisers said.

“The Giro d’Italia organization, in order to safeguard the safety of the Carovana Rosa, has therefore decided to change the route of the 16th stage.”

However, the redesigned route will still feature the Stelvio – which was meant to be climbed from its less difficult side – just in a reduced fashion. The riders will now climb 16.9km of the mountain before descending via the Umbrailpass and briefly passing through Switzerland, avoiding the most heavily impacted and dangerous areas.

That slight redesign demotes the stage - which kicks off the final week of this corsa rosa - from a five-star difficulty rating on the Giro d'Italia official website to a four-star.

The route change means the race’s Cima Coppi, or highest point, will still be on stage 16, but at 2,489m atop the Giogo di Santa Maria/Umbrailpass rather than the original 2,758m on the Stelvio.

Much of the climb remains the same, averaging at 7.1% but reaching 15% at its maximum, while the remainder of the stage follows the same profile as the original: a long stretch in the valleys before kicking up to two sharp finishing climbs.

The change has added 4km to the stage, which will now run for 206km from Livigno to Santa Cristina Valgardena, and is likely to still be significant in the general classification battle.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the Giro d'Italia and the world of professional cycling on our dedicated racing news hub on the GCN website.

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