Vincenzo Nibali is just two days away from a Giro D'Italia title, and snow might make his task even easier.
Nibali is fine with racing through the mountains -- in Stage 18, a power climb of an individual time trial, he bested the competition by 58 seconds and extended his lead over second-place cyclist Cadel Evans by a whopping 2 minutes 36 seconds -- but poor winter weather played into his favor. First, the race committee got rid of the two most treacherous mountain climbs of the Giro on Stage 19 through the Alps' foothills. Then, they cancelled the stage altogether, meaning instead of three stages for the opposition to catch up or capitalize on a potential slip-up, there will only be two. As Podium Cafe wrote, "NIbali has basically won the Giro."
The course for Stage 20 has been altered as well. Like the initial plan for an altered Stage 19, its been lengthened to 210 km and flattened, turning from a stage with multiple climbs and a difficult trek up the Passo de Giau to a relatively steady climb from Silandro Schlanders to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Here's the map and profile, from Steephill.
Of course, the race organizers could once again choose to axe the event with regards to racer safety. Regardless, the race will return to lower altitudes to crown a champion -- most likely Nibali -- on Sunday.