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Stelvio climb removed from Giro d’Italia amid avalanche fears

Organizers adjust the stage with different summt finish

Stelvio climb removed from Giro d’Italia amid avalanche fears Photo by: Sirotti

RCS, the organizers of the Giro d’Italia have announced a change in the route due to safety concerns. That means shifting from the Stelvio pass to Giogo di Santa Maria. This decision comes as heavy snowfall and temperature fluctuations have elevated the risk of avalanches along the Stelvio.

Originally planned as the dramatic climax of stage 16, the Stelvio Pass, reaching a brutal altitude of 2,758 m, was intended to conclude the 202-kilometer stage between Livigno and Santa Cristina Valgardena.

Slightly longer stage with new finish

On Tuesday the organizers announced riders will instead ride on the safer alternative of Giogo di Santa Maria. That climb is only 2,489 m. It will however extend the stage a few extra km–now it will be 206 km.

31 riders kicked out of Giro Next Gen for holding onto team vehicles on Stelvio climb

The last time it was featured in the Giro was 2020, when Jai Hindley won the stage and went on to win the overall. This isn’t the first time the climb has been removed from the race either–similar conditions meant organizers took it out in 1984, 1988, and 2013.

The stuff of legends

Similar to Alpe d’Huez and the Tour de France, the Stelvio Pass has a rich history at the Giro. And it’s no wonder, the Stelvio is the second-highest paved mountain pass in Europe.

In 1953, the Giro first went up the Stelvio Pass. Since then, the Stelvio has featured regularly in the Giro, with its tough slopes almost always determining the outcome of the race. Legendary cyclists like Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx, and Marco Pantani etched their names into cycling history with winning ascents of the climb.

The climb that makes or breaks pros

As a result of some of the incredible battles up the climb, it has since become a bit of a pilgrimage site for amateur cyclists around the world. Every summer, thousands of riders flock to its slopes.

Avalanche threat causes Giro organizers to cut Gavia from queen stage

Just like Mont Ventoux, the Stelvio’s history is not without drama and controversy. Weather extremes, including snowstorms and icy conditions, have frequently disrupted it.

Andy Hampsten’s incredible ride in brutal conditions

Andy Hampsten famously won atop during the 1988 Giro d’Italia in brutal conditions on the Passo di Gavia. Hampsten, an American cyclist riding for the 7-Eleven team, battled brutal weather conditions. That included snow and freezing temperatures.

Hampsten’s victory during the 1988 Giro d’Italia is widely regarded as one of the most heroic performances in the history of the race.

Stage 16 takes place on May 21, and even without the famous climb, should still prove to be a doozie. You can watch the Giro on FloBikes.com