This Tuesday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will be at the start of the Giro di Sicilia (2.1, 12-15/04) for the second time, a stage race of four days with increasing difficulty on the home soil of our partner Vini Zabù. In the first edition, back in 2019, the Belgian team won the queen stage on the summit of Mount Etna, thanks to Guillaume Martin who finished second in the general classification.
The third edition of this race will start with a first stage of just under 200 kilometers between Milazzo and Bagheria, along the flat coastline of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The second and third stages will start on the south coast in the province of Agrigente, a region with rich oenological history where the grapes of Vini Zabu are ripened. Then the riders will be led into the hilly countryside. Despite both stages containing no flat kilometers, they involve only one categorized climb. On Wednesday, the top of the difficulty, Enna (4.3km at 6.1%), will be followed by a 26km descent and 6km uphill to the finish in Caltanissetta. The next day, the third stage will end in Piazza Armerina after a final race hour with lots of short and steep uphill sections.
The curtain will fall on the Giro di Sicilia on the summit of the Etna (17.7km at 5.5%) at 1800 meter of altitude after a double passage on Contrade Giuliana (10.9km at 4.9%).
Seven riders will race under the direction of Jean-Marc Rossignon, among whom Italian climber Domenico Pozzovivo who returns into competition since his thirteenth place in Tirreno-Adriatico. His compatriot Simone Petilli (10th in 2019) will race alongside him, just like South-African climber Louis Meintjes and German rider Georg Zimmermann, who recovered from his crash in Milano-Torino. Dutch cyclocross specialist Corné van Kessel makes his competition debut on the road this season and Belgian sprinter Gerben Thijssen can rely on his Dutch lead out Boy van Poppel.
Giro di Sicilia:
Stage 1 (12/04): Milazzo – Bagheria (199km)
Stage 2 (13/04): Palma Di Montechiaro – Caltanissetta (152km)
Stage 3 (14/04): Realmonte – Piazza Armerina (171.6km)
Stage 4 (15/04): Ragalna – Etna (Piano Provenzana) (140km)
Corné van Kessel
Boy van Poppel