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Sport Giro d'Italia to donate stage 19 prizes to COVID-19 fight after rider protest

00:30  24 october  2020
00:30  24 october  2020 Source:   cyclingnews.com

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STORY: Czech Josef Cerny won the Giro d ' Italia 's 19 th stage which started amid chaos and was halved in length on Friday (October 23) following a After organisers agreed to their demands, the race started as planned but, after eight kilometres, the riders got on their team buses and were taken

Pieter Serry (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at the stage start in Morbegno (Image credit: Getty Images).

When stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia was more than halved in distance because of a rider protest on Friday, race director Mauro Vegni vowed that "somebody will pay for this". After the stage, the race Twitter account announced who: the riders. The brief statement read: "The prizes of today' Stage will be donated from the organizers to a Medical Center committed in the fight against COVID-19."

ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Podium Josef Cerny of Czech Republic and CCC Team Celebration Champagne during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 1245km stage from Abbiategrasso to Asti Stage shortened due to heavy rain girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images © Provided by Cycling News ASTI ITALY OCTOBER 23 Podium Josef Cerny of Czech Republic and CCC Team Celebration Champagne during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 19 a 1245km stage from Abbiategrasso to Asti Stage shortened due to heavy rain girodiitalia Giro on October 23 2020 in Asti Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Riders were unhappy with an additional 5km tacked onto an already long but flat 253km stage from Morbegno to Asti, their morale melting in the miserable cold, wet weather. After riding the 8km neutral, riders climbed back onto their team buses and relocated to Abbiategrasso where they started a truncated 124km stage.

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With five stages to go in the Giro d ' Italia , organisers are hoping to finish the race safely after another rider tested positive to COVID - 19 . There are concerns over the rising number of cases in Lombardy, the region of northern Italy where the race will finish on Sunday. Australian rider Ben O'Connor was

Visit the official website of Giro d ' Italia 2020 and discover all the latest updates and info on the route, stages , teams plus the latest news. Stage 19 .

"We support RCS’ decision to donate the prize money from stage 19 to the fight against COVID-19, especially as we are lucky to be even racing at this complicated time," said CCC Team boss Jim Ochowicz. "The most important thing for us is Josef Černy’s victory and we will celebrate that as a team. The decision to donate the prize money doesn’t detract from this special moment for the team."

Coming sandwiched in between the six-hour stage over the Stelvio on Thursday and another high mountain sufferfest with three ascents to Sestriere on Saturday, riders decided they'd had enough on stage 19.


Gallery: Giro d'Italia: Josef Cerny wins shortened stage 19 (Cycling News)

"It wasn't about the weather conditions," EF Pro Cycling's Simon Clarke said after the stage, "it was about the distance and how hard this week's been. It just seemed unnecessary to race 260 plus kilometres of flat, so we tried to find a compromise whereby we could race and put on a spectacle, but not race unnecessarily long distances."

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Nine stages into the Giro d ' Italia , one of the world's toughest cycling races, Michael Matthews was tired. Despite the mental and physical fatigue, the Australian had been riding well, challenging for podium finishes Matthews had indeed tested positive to COVID - 19 . His Giro campaign was over.

Josef Cerny (CCC) won a shortened stage 19 of the Giro d ’ Italia in Asti. The CCC rider attacked the day's breakaway and finished 18 seconds ahead of runner-up The day started with a controversial decision to shorten the 258km race after riders protested that it was too long, and held under rain

Despite the riders association (CPA) tweeting out thanks to the UCI jury and RCS Sport for acquiescing, saying "The health is the priority, especially in this COVID period. Reducing today's stage will not diminish the show, but will allow the immune defenses of the riders not to be put at greater risk", Vegni was fuming after the incident, saying he was "very upset about the way this happened".

The Giro director insisted that he had only learned of riders' concerns over the long transfers and potential for immune suppression amid the coronavirus pandemic by riding so long in cold, wet weather on the morning of the stage.

"It's an unacceptable decision, one that we've had to endure," Vegni told RAI. "Right now, we're thinking about getting to Milan but then somebody will pay for this."

If the donation of the stage prize money is allowed to go forward, stage winner Josef Černy (CCC Team) will be the one to pay the most, giving up  €11,010 for first place. Together, the top 20 finishers would have been given €27,540, with maglia rosa Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) netting €2,000 for the day in pink, and points, mountains and young riders classification leaders Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) and Jai Hindley (Sunweb) each losing out on €750 in addition to other prizes for most points, most time in the breakaway, the fighting spirit prize and the top teams.

At least the riders could celebrate one fact: the UCI did not fine a single rider or team director for any rule infractions during stage 19 – a first for the 2020 Giro d'Italia.

Geoghegan Hart, Ineos top prize winners in Giro d'Italia .
Team takes home €430,693 with €314,781 won by Geoghegan HartIneos Grenadiers took home roughly €430,693 - excluding the daily Intergiro sprints and combativity bonuses. In comparison, the top team in the Tour de France, UAE Team Emirates, won almost €200,000 more.

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