Today, the head of cycling at RCS Sport Mauro Vegni confirmed to Cyclingnews and La Gazzetta dello Sport that he was cancelling the highly criticized new Descenders Prize.
“Sadly some people didn’t fully understand the idea of the prize and other people used it to kick up a fuss. We’ve decided to eliminate the classification and the prizes,” said Vegni.
However, Vegni has decided to replace the Descenders Prize with another novel idea he hopes will bring a unique new sense of excitement on this, the 100th edition of the famed Giro d’Italia.
The Corsa all’Albergo — translated as, the Race to the Hotel, will be a timed event with prizes awarded to the riders who ride the fastest time to their hotel after the stage.
“This will be quite unexpected and I think, show another side to the passion of the Giro. After the stage, riders have the option of racing on their bikes to their hotel. The tifosi will get to see riders weave though the crowds and dodging cars and buses as they try to make their way to their hotel in the fastest time,” said Vegni.
The Corsa all’Albergo competition, sponsored by the Italian Allegro Hotel Group, will take place after stages 5, 11 and 17. In addition to the cash prizes, winners will also be awarded vacation packages at several of the Allegro hotel properties around the world. “We will certainly miss the drama of the Descenders Prize but I am happy to say this is also a very special idea,” said Vegni.
Vegni went on to say that he’s hopeful riders will endorse the Race to the Hotel prize and support it on social media. “They dumped all over the Descenders Prize but who is going to argue about a timed race to a nice hotel,” wondered Vegni.
“I’m convinced that the Hotel race prize is a good idea. We’ve got to look to the future and innovate races because the fans want to know more and more about the riders and their performances,” said Vegni.
The idea has clearly taken hold of Vegni’s imagination. “Can’t you just see what will happen? For the first time, the riders won’t stop at the finish line. No, those who dream of the hotel prize will keep pedaling, through the crowds and straight to their hotels. It’s going to be a spectacle. This prize is for the riders who don’t win much or who are rarely in the spotlight.”
Stage five will be the first opportunity to win The Race To The Hotel. The 159 kilometer run from Pedara to Messina will also take Giro contender Vincenzo Nibali to his home town. “What if Nibali wants to win the Corsa all’Albergo for his fans? That would be incredible,” said Vegni.