Giro d’Italia riders to donate prize money to cable car crash victims

Announcement made after grueling mountain stage of Italian bike race rerouted away from site of Mount Mottarone disaster, where nearly entire Israeli family was killed

Spectators watch riders of the pack in Sovazza during the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia 2021 cycling race on May 28, 2021. (Luca Bettini / AFP)
Spectators watch riders of the pack in Sovazza during the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia 2021 cycling race on May 28, 2021. (Luca Bettini / AFP)

ABBIATEGRASSOItaly — The prize money from Friday’s 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia bike race will be donated to the victims of the cable car accident on Mount Mottarone that cost 14 lives, the professional cyclists’ association (CPA) announced.

The route for the stage had already been changed so the peloton would not ride up the mountain, where the tragedy last weekend left 5-year-old Israeli Eitan Biran as the sole survivor among the 15 people on board.

“The riders unanimously decided to donate all the cash prizes of today’s stage to little Eitan and to the families affected by this terrible tragedy,” said the CPA.

Biran’s parents were killed in the crash, along with his 2-year-old brother and great-grandparents.

The accident happened about 100 meters from the last altitude station of the cable car to the top of Mount Mottarone.

Rescuers work by the wreckage of a cable car after it collapsed near the summit of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region, northern Italy, Sunday, May 23, 2021. (Italian Vigili del Fuoco Firefighters via AP)

Three managers from the operator of the cable car have been arrested, with police accusing them of deliberately disabling the emergency brake.

Biran, who resided in Italy with his family, was seriously injured in the crash.

The Biran family, with Eitan on the right. (Courtesy)

The Regina Margherita hospital in Turin, where he is being treated, said Thursday that he was awake, communicating and would soon be moved out of intensive care.

His aunt, a doctor living in Italy, was said to have been at his bedside when he woke up. He suffered multiple broken bones in the crash, though doctors determined there was no neurological damage. He has been gradually taken off sedation as his condition improved.

Friday’s 19th stage has been modified to bypass the top-category climb of the Mottarone. The new, slightly shorter route nevertheless includes three categorized climbs — including a top-classed one to the finish — on the 166-kilometer (103-mile) leg from Abbiategrasso to Alpe di Mera.

The Giro, which made history by holding time trials in Israel in 2018, finishes on Sunday in Milan with an individual time trial.

Daniel Martin, riding for team Israel Start-Up Nation, is in 10th place.

Times of Israel Staff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: