Giro d'Italia 2020: Stage 2 preview

Stage 2: Alcamo to Agrigento

Date: October 4, 2020 

Distance: 149km 

Stage start: 12:45pm CEST

Stage type: Hilly

Starting from Alcamo rather than Monreale as originally scheduled, this is a stage without any significant difficulties that concludes with a finish that could suit a wide variety of riders who have a quick turn of speed.

From Alcamo, located 50 kilometres or so west of Palermo, the route rolls south across the province of Trapani, crossing a fourth-category climb at Santa Ninfa and passing through the first sprint of the race at Partanna. Beyond here, it reaches flatter terrain and the main road running on or close to the coast towards Agrigento, the route undulating gently until it reaches a dramatic finale, both in terms of the setting and the test it presents to the riders.

Founded by the ancient Greeks in 580 BC, Agrigento and the UNESCO World Site of the Valley of the Temples provided a spectacular backdrop to the 1994 World Professional Road Championship, which was won by climber Luc Leblanc. As was the case that day, and again when Riccardo Riccò won a Giro stage into Agrigento in 2008, the finish is uphill and, say organisers RCS, should suit a “finisseur,” a punchy rider in the style of the Frenchman and the Italian.

Similar in length but a little tougher in terms of gradient to the Poggio, Milan-Sanremo’s final climbing test, the road starts to rise as it passes the Valley of the Temples, four kilometres out from the finish. It ascends into Agrigento at an average of 5.3 per cent through a series of steps, the most abrupt of them reaching nine per cent just inside the 3km-to-go banner.

The finale is likely to be too hard for the pure sprinters, but should suit Team Sunweb’s Michael Matthews perfectly as well as punchy finishers such as UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi, the winner of the recent Tour of Luxembourg. Veteran Sicilian rider Giovanni Visconti, leader of the locally-sponsored Vini Zabù KTM, may also be in the frame.

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