Giro d’Italia 2023: Bizarre scenes as riders stop to board buses after surreal start in heavy rain


A very strange situation unfolded at the start of Stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia on Friday as the riders got soaked starting out at Borgofranco d’Ivrea before they came to an abrupt stop and jumped on their team buses.

In what essentially amounted to a ceremonial procession, the riders made their scheduled departure at the start of the planned stage route, but it was just a temporary jaunt – and a very wet one at that – as they cruised over to a giant car park where the team buses awaited.

Following discussions with the riders, the Giro organisers elected to shorten the route – but not until they had rolled out from Borgofranco d’Ivrea as promised and rode a surreal 200 metres before they made their drenched return to the team buses.

Giro d’Italia

‘It’s a good decision’ – Thomas explains riders’ views on weather-shortened Stage 13


After meetings had been held, the tweaked route abbreviated the stage but did at least retain the two significant climbs of the Croix de Coeur and summit finish at Crans Montana to leave what should still be an intriguing and explosive day’s racing.

An official statement from the organisers read: “Given the adverse weather conditions, especially on the Italian side, the commission decided to meet the athletes’ requests by applying the Extreme Weather Protocol.

“Stage 13 will be shortened with the new KM 0 being set at Le Chable, at the bottom of the Croix de Coeur. The final part of the stage remains unchanged. The race will follow the original timetable.”

What all of that meant was a very wet ride over to the buses. The riders will reportedly then make a visit to a nearby sports hall where turbo trainers, and hopefully radiators, await them.

Riders stop to board buses after strange start to Stage 13

Overall leader Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) spoke with Eurosport ahead of the processional start to help explain from the riders’ perspective what had unfolded in the discussions with race organisers.

“There was a big chat last night and all the teams voted on what they wanted to do,” Thomas recounted. “To be honest, I think it is a good decision. I think it is still going to be a super-hard stage. It just means we are not in this cold, wet weather for even longer.

“We have seen so many guys going home with sickness so if we want to get to Rome with at least 50 guys, it is a good decision, I think. It is still going to be hard racing, so it is a decent compromise.”

‘It’s a good decision’ – Thomas explains riders’ views on weather-shortened Stage 13

Eurosport expert Robbie McEwen believes the dramatic alterations made to the course could lead to “the best stage we’ve seen in years”.

“You wouldn’t want the rain jacket on because they will be going immediately uphill, that climb is 13km, 8.5 (% gradient) average, straight out of the blocks,” he said.

“No wonder they’re trying to set up the turbo trainer in the sports hall. That could blow the race to smithereens. This could be the best stage we’ve seen in years.”

Dan Lloyd added: “In their heads, they’ve prepared for around about 200km with 5,000 metres or 4,500 metres climbing, and it’s not just the preparation in your mind, it’s the timing of your breakfast, it’s the amount you’re eating.

“All of a sudden now, they’re thinking of a very short, explosive stage. It suits different types of riders too.

“You’re going to have every domestique still here with a job to do, lining up, and if they decide to light it up at the opening line, it could be decimated by the time we get to the top of the first of the two climbs.

“It’s certainly a very different stage that could have a very different outcome to the stage we were assuming was going to happen 24 hours ago.”

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Giro d’Italia

Giro Stage 13 changes could lead to ‘best stage we’ve seen in years’ suggests McEwen


Giro d’Italia

Riders stop to board buses after strange start to Stage 13


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