Riders have taken team buses more than halfway through stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia after a protest over safety.
Concerns were raised over the 258km stage from Morbegno taking part in heavy rain, risking riders’ health.
Organisers eventually agreed with the Professional Cyclists’ Association (CPA) to start the stage 124km from the finish in Asti. It is now under way.
The CPA said: “The riders’ health is the priority, especially in this Covid period.”
They added: “Reducing today’s stage will not diminish the show, but will allow the immune defences of the riders not to be put at greater risk.”
Competing in heavy rain can cause riders, whose immune systems may already be compromised by excessive exertion, to become unwell as dirt and bacteria from the road is sprayed through the peloton.
Many riders are concerned it will increase the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Ineos Grenadiers tweeted earlier: “The start of stage 19 has been delayed and will be shortened following discussions with the race organisers.
“Our riders [are] currently covering the first part of the stage on the team bus.”
Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman leads the race by 12 seconds from team-mate Jai Hindley, and 15 seconds from Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos.
Meanwhile, Vini Zabu-KTM rider Matteo Spreafico has left the Giro, having being suspended by the UCI – cycling’s world governing body – after two adverse analytical findings (AAF) for the prohibited substance enobosarm.
“The rider has the right to request and attend the analyses of the B samples,” said a UCI statement.
“In accordance with the UCI anti-doping rules, the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair.”