Giro organisers slam Evenepoel's summit copter exit

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Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel during the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia
Belgian rider Remco Evenepoel during the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia

Organisers of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday slammed riders including world champion Remco Evenepoel for leaving the summit finish of stage seven by helicopter for a speedy return to their hotel base.

"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) notes that helicopter transport was used by some riders to leave the finish area after the end of the 7th stage of the Giro d'Italia, between Capua and Gran Sasso d'Italia," said the UCI.

"The UCI firmly condemns this behaviour which goes against the principles of fair play and equity," the body said, adding it also "goes against the principle of carbon footprint reduction, as stated in the UCI WorldTour organiser specifications."

The UCI vowed to take measures to ensure there was no repeat -- although the practice is not that uncommon.

Evenepoel and three other teammates took the copter down from the finish to enable as swift a recuperation period as possible.

The team had tweeted "A special ride for The Wolfpack at the end of today’s #Giro stage" after the race to the 2,130m snow-banked Gran Sasso summit.

Evenepoel, who currently stands second in the standings 28 seconds adrift of pink jersey wearer Andreas Leknessund of Norway, had expressed concern beforehand at the logistics of negotiating a more than 20km descent in the cold.

Some other risers took cable cars to get back down.

Meanwhile, two-time time trial world champion Filippo Ganna, has had to quit the event following a positive Covid test, his Ineos team said prior to Saturday's eighth stage.

His team said he would rest before returning for the remainder of the season calendar.

Second in the prologue, Ganna had been hoping for success in Sunday's 35km individual time trial.

He is the fourth rider to have to leave the Giro owing to Covid after Frenchman Clement Russo (Arkea-Samsic) on Thursday and Italian pair Nicola Conci (Alpecin) and Giovanni Aleotti (Bora) on Friday.

Three Jumbo-Visma teammates of Primoz Roglic had to withdraw for the same reason prior to the start of the race last week.

Also Saturday, Groupama-FDJ announced the withdrawal of Lars van den Berg because of illness, though the Dutchman returned a negative Covid test.