The long and flat nineteenth stage of the Giro d'Italia was considerably shortened at the last minute on Friday.

The ride only counts 124 kilometers instead of the original 258 kilometers.

It is the result of protests from some of the riders.

The riders had already left in severe weather, but soon got back on the team buses.

The stage will start in Abbiategrasso, four hours later and in a different location than planned.

The finish is as planned in Asti.

Many riders complained to the organization before the start of the stage about the length of the stage and the long journeys between the different stages.

Moreover, the weather is very bad in the north of Italy.

A tough mountain stage was held on Thursday and another long mountain stage will follow on Saturday.

Many riders were therefore not interested in a long day with probably little excitement.

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Retrospect: 'Plan without help for Kelderman in Giro worked out well afterwards'

Giro boss furious about the attitude of the riders

Incidentally, shortening the stage is not an aid to the Giro organization, emphasized race boss Mauro Vegni.

He is furious.

"We suffer from this," he said.

"This is what happens if riders don't show up at the start. Someone will pay for this."

In Thursday's race, Wilco Kelderman captured the pink jersey.

The Sunweb rider is 12 seconds ahead of teammate Jai Hindley in the standings and 15 seconds ahead of INEOS Grenadiers' Tao Geoghegan Hart.

The 103rd edition of the Giro will last until Sunday, when the riders finish with a time trial to Milan.

See also: Start of the shortened nineteenth stage postponed again