Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni unleashed a stinging tirade after Stage 19 was shortened without his consent, fuming that “someone will pay for it”.
The Giro was again plunged into chaos after a revolt forced organisers to shorten Friday’s 258km stage, with the first 134km awkwardly ridden on the bus.
The day’s action was slashed to 124km, starting in Abiategrasso near Milan, after protests from riders over race safety in light of Thursday’s grind up the snow-covered Stelvio.
“I’m very upset about the way this has happened. It isn’t the right way to resolve the issues that we face today,” Vegni told Eurosport.
“I think there are going to be some words with lawyers because I don’t feel it’s been respectful to the race, to the people who want to watch the race.
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'There will be consequences' - Vegni fumes at revolt
“There will be consequences because of the behaviour of the riders today.
“The stage was announced a year ago, they knew it was going to happen in October and a rainy day in October is quite a usual thing and 13°C is not cold.”
A rider, who wanted to remain anonymous, had earlier told Eurosport that the riders are "on their knees" and that he had "never seen a Tour where people are this broken".
Vegni added: "We didn't accepted riders' proposal, we have suffered it.
"What happened today will put into shadow everything we did about it. This is what happened when riders doesn't show up at start. Someone will pay for it.
This isn't over. Let's finish the race and reach Milan, then someone will pay.
The race finishes in Milan on Sunday, with just 15 seconds separating the top three in GC ahead of Friday's unruly start.
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'They should have raced from the gun'
Brian Smith and Rob Hatch sympathised with the riders on Eurosport commentary, but questioned if the decision was damaging to the sport.
"I feel a lot of sympathy for Vegni. I was in touch with a few riders this morning and I completely understand where they’re coming from – up at 6:30am the last few days, putting out the same calories they would over a Classic race, the travel back and forth to the stage starts, hotels and transfers, the gruppetto doing almost seven hours yesterday, the lack of sleep, everybody on their hands and knees," said Smith.
"But I’ve dealt with the logistics of a World Tour team – they knew what was coming. This was worked out a couple of months ago.
"Now, because it rains a little bit and it’s a wee bit cold, they decide they don’t want it. They are paid to do their job and unfortunately I don’t think this is right. I don’t think it’s the best PR for our sport and I really think they should have raced from the gun.
It has to be unanimous and if I was there, I would have said ‘we want to race’. I’m hearing that a few of the sports directors didn’t know what was happening.
The race concludes this weekend with another trip to the mountains on Saturday, followed by an individual time trial on Sunday.
'We want to stick up for the riders but...'
Hatch added: "If I was planning this Grand Tour, it would be an absolutely stupid idea to put this stage in today.
“But it is in, they’ve known about it for a long time, and this could go a long way to softening up legs for another long day tomorrow.
“There will be teams understandably aggrieved who thought they might be able to put the pressure on. We really want to stick up for riders because there’s been some awful safety issues this year. We really want them to be unified and if there’s something that is unsafe, we want to support them.
"We don’t want to see dangerous accidents and things like that, but the talk is that today wasn’t one of those days. It doesn’t seem like great PR for the cause."