This high mountain stage has nearly no pause for breath past mid-course. The first part is played out on the road that runs around the Etna, through Biancavilla, Adrano, Bronte, Maletto and Randazzo. Here, the route starts to climb up the volcano, circling it at a higher altitude, along the sp. Quota Mille. The route takes a technical descent through Linguaglossa, all the way to Piedimonte Etneo, and then tackles the first “Superior” climb of the stage, leading to Contrada Giuliana. Then comes a technical descent through Milo and Santa Venerina, all the way to Giarre. After the intermediate sprint in Mascali, the route takes in a second, different, and somewhat harder ascent to Contrada Giuliana. A short false-flat down after the categorised summit leads to the closing climb (18 km), which starts in Fornazzo.
The closing climb (18.0 km) ascends along the eastern side of the Etna, following a constant succession of hairpins, beside more or less recent lava streams. The mean gradient is 6.0% (considering a short downhill stretch past the fork leading to the Rifugio Citelli), with slopes averaging 9% over the last 3 km (and especially around -2,000 m), and topping out at 11% with 1.5 km to go. The home straight (50 m) is on 6.5 m wide asphalt road.