Updated: Col du Galibier back on the Giro menu… but it could be off again it the weather worsens

Revised stage could be as short as 50km as two big cols dropped

by Dave Atkinson   May 18, 2013  

Col du Galibier (Photosport International)

The weather has played a major in this year's Giro d'Italia, and after a day in which it significantly re-shaped stage 14 it intervened again, this time though by relenting enough for the French Prefecture of Valloire to say that stage 15  can finish on the Col du Galibier after all said the organisers in a statement tonight. Provided of course the weather doesn't worsen overnight in which case it's as you were for a much foreshortened stage.

While the Galibier may be back on the menu the race won't be going all the way to the summit of the legendary Tour de France climb - that is still under several metres of snow - instead the stage will finish four kilometres short of the top at the Pantani monument.

It had been reported in the French media that the race would not be able to climb either the Galiber or the Col du Mont Cenis due to heavy snow and the risk of avalanche. Indeed throughout the day there have been numerous pictures of what it is like near the top of the mountain posted on Twitter - snowy basically.

The prefect of the Valloire region of Savoi is the person with ultimate responsibiilty for deciding whether the mountains are safe enough for the race to go ahead, and last night the Dauphine newspaper reported that the two high points of Sunday's stage would be off-limits. The Dauphine stated that the stage will start at the base of the Col du Mont Ciens and finish in Valloire ahead of the Galibier ascent; assuming that they mean the far side of the first climb, that would shorten the stage to around 50km and should the weather intervene again this could still happen.

The Giro isn't the first race to fall foul of unusually cold weather at the start of 2013. The Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and GP Lugano races were both cancelled earlier in the season due to snow, and Milan-San Remo featured a bus transfer after heavy snow made the Paso del Turchino impassable. The closure of Sunday's two climbs means that there's much more to play for on Saturday on a stage which also features a summit finish at Bardonecchia at an altitude of 1,908m

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Global warming eh.

Downhill bikes don't make you cool.


charliemac74's picture

posted by charliemac74 [169 posts]
17th May 2013 - 23:13


Absolutely. Ice melts. Gulf stream gets pushed south and we get the spring as Toronto and April is the new May. Never seen The Day After Tomorrow? It's here. Big Grin

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1059 posts]
17th May 2013 - 23:33


It's normal; nowt to do with global warming!
The Giro has always had 'snow issues' when it's headed into the high mountains, the most memorable being 25 years ago with Breukink and Hampsten's epic ride over and, more particularly, down the Passo Di Gavia.
I'm surprised they even cluded something as high as the Galibier; I've been cycling several times in the Swiss Alps in May and you don't expect anything over about 2000m to be open at that time of year and if it is you run the risk of avalanches.

posted by pwake [295 posts]
18th May 2013 - 2:23


I wonder if Wiggins would have continued if he knew these climbs would not be ridden?

posted by Abdoujaparov [24 posts]
18th May 2013 - 5:30


Same happened on Stage 1 of last years Tour of California, remember that? Pics of team cars under 6" of snow!

They cancelled the whole stage and moved south for Stage 2.

posted by crazy-legs [519 posts]
18th May 2013 - 8:03


So, 50Kms.

ITT or Sprint?

Could be another one for Cav.

Did Nightrider 2013 and 2014 for Parkinson's UK. Might just have one last go in 2015.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [619 posts]
18th May 2013 - 9:08


what a shame, was looking forward to the galibier featuring in the giro

posted by cycle_physio [24 posts]
18th May 2013 - 9:40


Good news for Cav's red jersey chances surely?

posted by karlowen [65 posts]
18th May 2013 - 11:08


even more gutting for wiggo, if he had been in full health this change would have handed him the GC on a plate, he could have destroyed such a short stage.

posted by chrisb87 [67 posts]
18th May 2013 - 12:32


charliemac74 wrote:
Global warming eh.

Dont confuse Global warming with climate change,warming is merely one aspect of the catastrophe we face if humanity carries on plundering and destroying nature

posted by Lane71 (not verified) [123 posts]
18th May 2013 - 12:59


I'm at the Giro right now, and I can tell you that the pic up the top is NOT how Galibier looks at the moment! Have to say, I wouldn't be sad to see Mont Ciens cancelled either, although of course then I have no idea how I would get to the start...

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at www.tourletour.com

Tour Le Tour's picture

posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
18th May 2013 - 22:31


It's "Col Du Mont Cenis" not "Ciens" (trust me, I've ski'd down it Smile )

posted by VeloPeo [220 posts]
18th May 2013 - 23:55


Global warming means "global", and it refers to heat (i.e. energy) rather than temperature. Heat can increase, even as temperature stays the same - phase changes (ice melting) take considerable amounts of energy. Local temperature can *decrease* even as global heat increases, e.g. because cold melt-water from the poles flows in to the ocean.

Global warming is a fact.

posted by Paul J [628 posts]
19th May 2013 - 16:57