Volcanic ash from Mount Etna threatens Giro stage
May 12, 2011, 12:20 GMT
Catania, Sicily - Labourers on Thursday were working against the clock to sweep volcanic ash off a road which is to host a Giro d'Italia stage that is set to reach Mount Etna in Sicily this weekend.
'The stage is not at risk, let's be calm,' said Giro d'Italia director, Angelo Zomegnan.
On Sunday, the ninth Giro stage is scheduled to start in the Sicilian seaside town of Messina and after 169 kilometres end near Etna, with the finish line at 1,892 metres above sea level.
Ash, some two centimetres thick, has accumulated on large tracts of road since Etna - Europe's tallest active volcano - started spewing lava earlier this week.
Ash on tarred roads reduces tyre grip, increasing the possibility of riders falling.
Zomegnan stressed that the ash deposits involved 'only the last four kilometres of the stage,' and that clearing operations were already underway.
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