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
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