Following an outcry from pro riders and pundits all over the world the race organisers have have made the following statement:
“The spirit of the initiative was to highlight an important skill which is an integral part of a cycle race without putting the riders’ safety in jeopardy. Rider safety is, and remains, the priority of the Giro and the race organisers.
Comments have been made suggesting that this initiative could be potentially misunderstood and generate behaviours not in line with the safety principle. The race organisers have taken these comments on board and change an initiative that could be misinterpreted.
Therefore the race organisers have decided to eliminate all such classification and prize money as per the race regulations, leaving the timekeeping of the descents purely as statistical data for the fans.”(Original story below)
Will a new downhill classification make the race more exciting, or just more dangerous? – By Joe Lindsey
On Monday, the Giro d’Italia announced a new secondary competition in the race, and it’s already a topic of fierce debate.
The Best Downhill Rider classification is basically straight out of Strava. On 10 stages, there will be one timed descent segment where the five fastest riders will earn points (the fastest rider per segment gets 500 Euro as well). The rider with the highest cumulative point total at the finish in Milan wins the overall best descender award and a grand prize of 5,000 Euro (second and third places get 3,000 and 2,000 Euro, respectively).
The news prompted a swift reaction, including from riders themselves. Cannondale-Drapac’s Alex Howes mused on Twitter that maybe the organizers should just cut to the chase and pay riders to crash. Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven was unsparing in his criticism.