The hotel transfer for the professional cyclists after the first big mountain finish at the 106th Giro d'Italia has caused chaos and criticism of the organizers. For the descent from the Gran Sasso d'Italia, which is over 2000 meters high, the organizers had referred the teams to the cable car on Friday. According to riders, however, this was not reserved for professionals, but was also allowed to be used by fans, service staff and the Giro's entourage, which led to crowds and chaos.

Driver advisor Ken Sommer criticized the unprofessional organization as well as some professionals. Alternatively, after the more than 200-kilometer stage in single-digit temperatures, the riders could also cycle down to the valley or by car, which is estimated to have taken almost an hour.

Two minutes in a helicopter

Since some riders were flown down to the valley by helicopter, the UCI intervened on Saturday. The use of helicopters is strongly condemned, as this would give some drivers an advantage. In addition, this would arise from efforts to minimize the ecological footprint. The UCI announced penalties. It was initially unclear which and how many drivers flew by helicopter.

Belgian journalist Renaat Schotte reported that the Giro organizer RCS had offered World Champion Remco Evenepoel a helicopter ride. It took the captain of Team Quick-Step just over two minutes to get from the finish line to the hotel. In grand tours, it is common for riders involved in the podium ceremonies to be flown down to the valley by helicopter, as they have to stay longer in the finish area. Evenepoel did not have to attend any ceremony on Friday.

Meanwhile, corona cases at the Giro d'Italia are piling up. One day before the first long individual time trial, former world champion Filippo Ganna has to leave the race after testing positive. The Italian is thus the fourth case in the current Giro, and before the start of the second most important national tour, numerous professional cyclists had withdrawn their start due to a Covid illness.

It was only on Friday that the German hope Lennard Kämna lost an important helper in the Italian Giovanni Aleotti. As Ganna's team Ineos-Grenadiers announced on Saturday, the 26-year-old had shown mild, flu-like symptoms. For the 2020 and 2021 World Time Trial Champion, victory on Sunday's ninth stage, a battle against the clock over 35 kilometers, was the big goal at the Giro.