The Giro di Sicilia is in its second edition after a pause of 41 years.
The stage race, organised by RCS Sport in collaboration with the Region of Sicily, was supposed to take place in April 2021 but was postponed to the autumn, and is now due to be held between the 28th of September and the 1st of October. The Giro di Sicilia will start in Syracuse and end at Mascali, covering a distance of 693 kilometres.
It is a men’s road cycling race with a route in stages devised by Vincenzo Florio in 1907, making it the first stage race in Italy.
The UCI calendar has been changed several times this year, due to the pandemic. Like the Giro di Sicilia, the 74th Coppa Agostoni – Giro delle Brianze was also changed, moving from 29 September to 11 October with departure and arrival in Lissone.
It has been a difficult year for the management of sporting events, with the rescheduling of dates and closing to the general public.
Let’s find out about the four stages of the next edition of the Giro di Sicilia, organised thanks also to Banca Ifis, Premium Partner of all seven Great Classics of Cycling 2021.
The first stage of the Giro di Sicilia kicks off at Syracuse and runs 194 kilometres to Licata. The road goes up and downhill three quarters of the way, but is level for the final stretch. It starts at Syracuse and follows the coast, and then the cyclists have to head inland and climb the only Grand Prix Mountain of the day to Ragusa, and cross over to Ibla.
The descent mainly involves a straight section to the sea resort of Gela, and then leads to and through the town of Licata where there are several 90-degree bends. Lastly, there is a straight section on a gentle incline to the end of the first stage.
The second stage of the Giro di Sicilia covers 141 km. It starts at Selinunte and ends at Mondello, with a number of bends and ups and downs at first. In the last 30 km, the athletes take on the Carini Grand Prix Mountain. The final half-bends before the finish are on a straight flat asphalted road eight metres wide, on a level and with no particular obstacles.
The penultimate stage is 178 km long and involves an uphill section at the end. The route starts at Termini Imerese and ends at Caronia with a succession of bends. The route is very much on the beaten track, passing through towns and following a number of main roads. This stage involves the 11 km GPM of Pollina with a gradient of 6%, and its final stretch is along the coast. The last 3 km of the race features hairpin bends and then a straight section 300 metres long and 6 metres wide.
The fourth and final stage is 180 km long and takes the athletes into the high mountains. It starts along the coast, then goes up to the Favoscuro Pass towards the steep slopes of Etna and finally reaches the sea again. The climb of Piano Provenzana leads to Milo with the GPM near the Citelli mountain hut and is followed by a very demanding descent of almost 30 km that goes through inhabited areas. Mascali is reached via a couple of U-turns and a straight uphill section.
Now that we know about the four stages of the Giro di Sicilia, let’s delve into the history of this scenic stage race.
The Giro di Sicilia was conceived in the early 1900s by Vincenzo Florio, creator of Targa Florio, another sporting event that takes place on the island. The first race was held in 1907, with Carlo Galetti as the winner and Luigi Ganna coming second. The latter won the first Giro d’Italia in 1909.
The Giro di Sicilia has not been held on a regular basis. The last edition took place in 1977 and it wasn’t until 2019 when it was held again. The most editions in consecutive years were between 1953 and 1960. Carlo Galetti, Nicola Mammina and Francesco Patti hold the record number of victories.
In 2019 the Region of Sicily and RCS Sport brought back the race, which saw the victory of Brandon McNulty, followed by Guillaume Martin and Fausto Masnada.
In 2020 the race was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Winner of the first edition of the Giro di Sicilia after a 41-year pause was the American cyclist Brandon McNulty of the UHC Cycling Rally team. Next on the podium was Guillaume Martin, who won the last stage but finished second in the general classification. Third place went to the Italian Fausto Masnada of the Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team.
The four stages of the 24th edition held in 2019 started in Catania and ended at Etna. A total of 75 cyclists completed the race, out of the 126 who were at the starting point in Catania.
The 2021 Giro di Sicilia, which was supposed to take place in April, has been officially postponed by the UCI to autumn, and will be held from 28 September to 1 October. In 2020, Sicily was the location of four stages of the Giro D’Italia, while in 2021 it was excluded from the Giro together with almost all of southern Italy, with the exception of the seventh stage which started from Abruzzo and arrived in Molise, and the eighth stage that started from Foggia, in Puglia, and arrived in Guardia Sanframondi, in Lazio.
All that remains now is to enjoy the four autumn stages of the Giro di Sicilia in late September 2021.