The true facts of stage 16 of the 2014 Giro d’Italia may remain as foggy as the summits of the Gavia and Stelvio were as the weather wreaked havoc on what organisers had hoped would be an iconic stage.
After snow forced the cancellation of the same stage last year, the famous passes of the Gavio and Stelvio were finally tackled on the same day for the first time in Giro history.
And it certainly made for an unforgettable occasion, albeit not all for the right reasons, as Nairo Quintana handed out a climbing masterclass on the summit finish of Val Martello to turn a sizable deficit into a dominant maglia rosa lead.
Controversy, however, surrounds the long, twisting descent of the Stelvio as contrasting and confusing reports circulated about that part of the race being neutralised.
Ultimately, race organisers RCS Sport said no such order was issued and communication aired on race radio was for safe riding on the first six corners of the descent, rather than complete neutralisation.
But with statements, counter-statements and some very angry directeurs sportifs – step forward Patrick Lefevere (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) – it seems likely the controversy surrounding the stage will rumble on for some time.
Didn’t respect the orders pic.twitter.com/eNDorupZm4
— Patrick Lefevere (@PatLefevere) May 27, 2014
For now however, read on for our take on the ‘storm on the Stelvio’.