RCS Sport confirmed the island of Sicily will host the Grand Partenza of the 2021 Giro d'Italia, three stages of the 2020 Giro d'Italia and the returning Giro di Sicilia, having signed a three-year deal with the Sicilian Region. The island hosted stages 4 to 6 of the 2018 Giro d'Italia, where Tim Wellens won on a lumpy stage to Caltagirone, Enrico Battaglin in Santa Ninfa and the explosive stage to Mount Etna, where Simon Yates seized the race lead and his teammate Esteban Chaves won the day.
While the island will have to wait until next season for the Giro d'Italia to return, the details of the Giro di Sicilia route for 2019 were announced, where Mount Etna will be the grand finale of the four-day stage race. The 18th running of the sporadically-held race was last held in 1977, 70 years after its first edition. Giuseppe Saronni, who currently works with the UAE Team Emirates squad, was the victor that year at age 19.
The second stage is flat on both ends and hilly in the middle, as the peloton takes on a 236km stage from Capo d'Orlando to Palermo, heading inland to the Geraci Siculo and Petralia Soprana climbs before descending to the flat finish.
Stage 3 is another lumpy visit to the island's inland region, with a twisting, rolling route through small towns riddled with narrow, cobbled passages. The Serra di Burgio climb precedes a fast descent and flat run to Ragusa for the final sprint after a testing 188km.
The grand finale on Mount Etna will be familiar to Italian racing fans. The 119km stage is short but sharp, starting in Giardini Naxos, going around the mountain to 1,000m at Maletto, then descending to Nicolosi where the road tilts up the massive volcano.
Nello Musumeci, President of the Sicilian Region, said that hosting races like the Giro di Sicilia brings the region pride and strengthens the image of the region. "The three-year agreement signed by my Government with RCS Sport goes in this direction and will ensure strong visibility and an important impact in terms of tourism," Musumeci said, adding that "beyond the excitement of the competition, we can offer unique and exciting routes and a panorama that, I am sure, will not go unnoticed and that will prove to be a worthy setting for such a glorious event."
The events are sponsored by Open Fiber, a telecommunications subsidiary of Italian energy company Enel.
RCS Sport CEO Paolo Bellino said the partnership with the Sicilian Region is aimed at reviving the Giro di Sicilia to its former glory and benefitting the citizens. "The island of Sicily is extraordinary, as are its inhabitants, rich in culture, tradition and history, surrounded by a wonderful sea and with food that's second to none. Sicily is the ideal place to ride, across every season of the year, and I'm sure that, in the future, it will be possible to organise sportive events here too. This synergy develops tourism and becomes an accelerator for the economy of the territory hosting the events."
2019 Giro di Sicilia stages:
Stage 1 - Catania - Milazzo - 165km
Stage 2 – Capo d'Orlando - Palermo – 236km
Stage 3 – Caltanissetta - Ragusa – 188km
Stage 4 – Giardini Naxos - Etna (Nicolosi) – 119km