Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia Cut Short Due to Snowy Conditions on Umbrail Pass

107th giro d'italia 2024 stage 16
Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia Cut Short for SnowTim de Waele - Getty Images

The postman’s creed is “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds.” But it’s not the case for pro cyclists racing the 2024 Giro d’Italia: Tuesday’s Stage 16 was shortened due to a mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain, making the famed Umbrail Pass impassable for the peloton.

Stage 16 had already undergone adjustments after the iconic Passo dello Stelvio climb was removed due to the risk of avalanches, and so the Umbrail Pass took its place. But weather conditions in the region have gotten worse.

The start of the stage was all about staying dry and warm, as current race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) rolled to the start line in all-black waterproof layers under the protection of a massive pink umbrella. Earlier in the morning, the race was neutralized, and the start was moved from Livigno to Lasa, cutting the course from the original 205 kilometers down to 115.

A statement from the Giro organizers was released explaining the situation, moments before the original start time:

A few minutes before the start, the weather conditions deteriorated further and so the Commission decided to fall back on Option 3 - In the event of extreme weather conditions, the stage will be neutralized up to a place where the safety conditions are met. The actual start will be in Lasa/Laas, at 14.25, as per timetable.

Understandably so: Check out this shot from the team caravan as the cars drove riders to the new starting spot.

107th giro d'italia 2024 stage 16
Tim de Waele - Getty Images

Or, as Intermarche-Wanty put it after the riders were on their way and many of the team cars headed to the finish line, ‘we’re on our way to meet Santa.’

The race hasn’t been rerouted; it just moved 85 kilometers ahead, thanks to the snow. That means riders will still finish with a (chilly) climb up Monte Pana.

Riders were understandably upset at last night’s team briefing. GCN reports that the rider’s union tried to refuse to race unless the Umbrail Pass was removed from the route due to continuing snowy weather conditions. The Giro organizers came back with a counter-proposal: The race would be neutralized so that riders could change into warmer clothing if needed.

Unfortunately, race organizers persisted in starting the race in the original spot—until minutes before the start, when the weather got even worse. Finally, the organizers had to concede that riding the Umbrail Pass would be foolhardy, and the teams were forced to pack up and drive to the new start.

“To be honest, now the conditions are not safe. It’s snowing here so you can imagine up there. The problem is not only going up but the 20 km downhill, so it makes no sense to take risks. For me, it’s good we move to another place,” the RCS Sport CEO Paolo Bellini told GCN.

Hat tip to Intermarché-Wanty and whoever’s running the team’s social today:

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