The opening stages of the Giro d’Italia have been confirmed for Sicily.
One month after organizers RCS confirmed that the Grande Partenza of this year’s Giro will be celebrated in Sicily, the details of the opening stages have been announced, with a short time trial and climb to Mount Etna highlighting the schedule.
Originally the island off the southern boot of Italy was scheduled to host stages four, five and six, but since the cancelation of the original start in Budapest, Hungary, the organizers have opted to advance and expand the Sicilian adventure, which will now host the start of the Italian race for the ninth time.
The three-week race will start on October 3 with a 15-kilometer time trial from the historic Monreale Cathedral – classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site – and will finish in the heart of Palermo.
Stage two will then start in Melfi, and finish in the shadows of the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, which hosted the 1994 world championships. While the stage is relatively flat, the uphill finish could favor punchers. Stage three then will feature a summit finish atop the 1,775-meter volcano of Mount Etna.
The fourth and final stage on the island, a pure sprint stage, will finish only a couple of kilometers away from Messina, birthplace to two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali, who hopes to add a third title to his collection this year.
Sicily was originally scheduled to be hosting the opening of the Giro in 2021, but stepped up after the coronavirus crisis forced Budapest to withdraw.
“We immediately accepted the invitation from RCS Sport to bring the Grande Partenza forward from 2021 to 2020,” said Manilo Messina, Sicilian councilor for sport, tourism and entertainment. “We are proud to be part of this project and I am sure it will drive the development of sport and tourism.”
“Since 2019, with the Sicilian region, we have been developing an important project to promote the region through cycling,” RCS Sport added in an official statement. “Now we have the Grande Partenza from Monreale and three other stages that will show the beauty of Sicily to the world. It will therefore be a UNESCO World Heritage Site to kick off the unique, all-Italian edition of the Giro d’Italia.”
Nibali, Remco Evenepoel, Simon Yates and defending champion Richard Carapaz are all set to line up for the opening time trial, October 3.