After seeing there was no snow on top of the final climb of the cancelled Tirreno-Adriatico stage four, Astana say they may not risk putting Vincenzo Nibali in the Giro d'Italia in case more stages are cancelled

Italy’s top rider Vincenzo Nibali is considering skipping the Giro d’Italia because he and his Astana team are upset with the organiser over its handling of Sunday’s Tirreno-Adriatico stage.

RCS Sport called off the stage last night due to the risk of cold rain and snow, which has yet to fall in central Italy’s Apennine Mountains.

Astana‘s coach Paolo Slongo drove to the top of the 10-kilometre Monte San Vicinio climb this morning to see the conditions at 1200 metres. It allowed him a moment to reflect on the big goal of the season, the three-week Giro this May, and RCS Sport’s quick decision to cancel today’s stage.

“The snow’s not there,” Slongo told Tutto Bici. “We’re bitter because the race was distorted and BMC will win the final classification and take home serious WorldTour points.

“If they act like this every time there is severe weather risk, we will review our plans. There are three summit finishes at the Giro d’Italia, we cannot afford for Nibali to aim everything on the Giro only not to be able to express his talents. With [team manager Alexander] Vinokourov and Vincenzo, we’ll decide what to do. Right now, he may decide to change his plans. ”

Nibali, who has won all three Grand Tours, could instead take aim at the Tour de France again. Last year, he won a stage to La Toussuire and placed fourth behind Sky’s Chris Froome. In 2014, he won the overall.

When reached by telephone about his comments, Slongo said: “We’ll evaluate the idea of Vincenzo riding the Tour instead of the Giro. We planned that Fabio Aru would target the Tour this year but it wouldn’t be a problem having Vincenzo at the Tour, too. It’s something we’ll look at.”

The Giro, which runs from May 6 to 29, will climb higher mountain passes in the Alps where weather could cause problems. Snow ruined the Giro already in the past. RCS Sport cancelled stages and came under fire for its handling of the 2014 Stelvio stage.

Awareness is raised now, however. The UCI created a extreme weather protocol for 2016 that allows for organisers to sit down with other stakeholders and consider cancelling the stage – which happened Saturday night in Foligno. In Paris-Nice, ASO referred to the same protocol to cancel its stage midway on Wednesday.

“Vincenzo is great climber and it’s not fair that he targets the Giro and then the mountain stages are possibly taken out,” Slongo added. “That could be a reason to study and so eventually our plans for the season.”

Nibali, who has won Tirreno-Adriatico twice already, sits 24 seconds behind Zdenek Stybar (Etixx–Quick-Step) with only a flat stage and a 10.05-kilometre time trial on Tuesday remaining.

  • David Bassett

    I see what you are saying but I don’t agree. Brad was the better rider, Chris Froom was not ready. One single swallow does not make a summer. Just because Chris made that brilliant attack does not mean he was up to winning that year.
    Sky have more knowledge than most other teams that is why great teams like Movistar openly follow what they do.
    There are other factors Sky had been good to Chris and looked after him through his illness were other teams would have let him go. They work to a long term plan.
    But one of my points was as I said “He cheats lies and cries. Not one of the best grand tour winners”. You will have seen how Pro bike riders (like elephants) have long memories.
    Not a nice rider.

  • ljblas

    Here here……….don’t trust a thing Astana “achieve”.

  • J Evans

    Most forecasts in Italy yesterday said there would be no
    snow.

    Today, there is no snow.

    Is the media going to say nothing?

    Why did Vegni postpone the race the day before, rather
    than

    on the day?

    Why was no alternative route used? Agnoli posted 3

    alternative routes on Twitter.

    Why was Vegni so determined to cancel the stage?

    Mollema, Pinot, and riders from Bora, Giant and Ag2R were
    against this yesterday.

    Odd how the media didn’t report all these negative comments, but only the
    positive ones.

    Who benefits from this decision? BMC, Etixx – Velon
    teams.

    Who suffers? FDJ and Astana – non-Velon teams.

    And RCS have been cosying up to Velon recently.

    The cold is not dangerous – this lie is becoming
    all-pervasive.

    Snow or ice is – temperature, per se, isn’t.

    This stage was not cancelled for safety reasons.

    Why have the UCI allowed individuals with a vested interest

    in an outcome, be involved in decision making? As always, the UCI is failing to

    run the sport properly. They should not have allowed this.

    The precedent is set: from now on, teams will use this
    rule to cancel stages that don’t suit them.

    Today, it suits BMC and EQS (TVG and Stybar/Jungels are
    more likely to win without this big climbing day) so they’re in favour of it.
    Nibali wanted the climbs, hence Astana are against. Next time, all will hold
    different views: whatever suits them.

    As ever in cycling, there is no long-term thinking – and no
    transparency.

    And, as usual, the hopeless media isn’t putting these questions
    to Vegni.

  • J Evans

    You can say the same about Wiggins: had Froome been allowed to ride against him, had Contador not been banned, etc. and so on.
    But it’s all speculation: Wiggins won.
    Similarly, with Nibali: he already had a lot of time on after the cobbles. Would he have won even if Contador and Froome had remained? Who knows. Was Froome even on form that season?
    Either way, staying on your bike is a vital part of cycling.

  • David Kerry

    Dave Bassett I completely agree.. If froome and contador were in the 2014 tour Nibili would of never made the podium ..

  • David Bassett

    Vincenzo Nibali only won the TdF because there was no one there. If Froom and Contador had been there he would have been worked over and as last year maybe scraped a top five. He cheats lies and cries. Not one of the best grand tour winners.

  • Ciaran Carroll

    I agree. That stage last year when Nairo Quintana took the stage win and overall lead in the snow up the climb of the Terminillo was great viewing

  • david watts

    The bad weather only adds to the drama. Let’s not allow red tape to destroy legendary / epic win opportunities.