Stage 5: Catania to Messina
Date: May 11, 2022
Race times: 11:30-16:00 (CEST)
Stage type: Flat
The second of two Sicilian stages, stage 5 of the Giro will provide some relief for the bunch following a day of climbing. Picking up where stage 4 left off at the foot of Mount Etna, the stage begins in the town of Catania, a unique city on the east coast. The island’s second largest city, Catania plays host to grand piazzas, baroque architecture and a UNESCO heritage site.
From Catania, the peloton will travel north along the coast of Sicily, before heading inland and taking on the first of two intermediate sprints. A bunch sprint finish is on the cards for the stage, assuming the sprinters can successfully manage the day’s single categorised climb, the second-category Portella Mandrazzi. At 19.5 kilometres long and with an average gradient of around four per cent, it’s a stringent enough test to find out which of the pure sprinters don’t have their best legs. However, placed just before halfway along the stage’s distance and with 30km of descending to follow, any stragglers should be able to make it back to the bunch with time to spare.
Following the descent, the final 64km is largely flat and features one further intermediate sprint as the race travels north towards the town of Messina, famously home to the 'Shark of Messina' himself, Vincenzo Nibali. The Astana Qazaqstan rider is unlikely to be afforded the opportunity to go for victory on home soil, though, as the almost inevitable bunch sprint will unfold instead, featuring a strong field of fast men including Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), Mark Cavendish (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ).
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Katy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has published interviews, features, and previews in Cycling News, Rouleur, Cyclist Magazine and the British Continental. She also writes opinion pieces on her own website writebikerepeat.com and is a frequent contributor to the Quicklink podcast.
She is obsessed with the narrative element of bike racing, from the bigger picture to the individual stories. She is a cyclocross nut who is 5% Belgian and wonders if this entitles her to citizenship. Her favourite races are Ronde van Vlaanderen and La Vuelta.
In her spare time Katy is a published short fiction and non-fiction author.
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