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Palma di Montechiaro and The Leopard

29/03/2022

Five landmarks of the 2022 Giro di Sicilia EOLO: episode 2

Running 152 km from Palma di Montechiaro to Caltanissetta, from the shoreline to the hinterland, the second stage of the Giro di Sicilia will be quite short. The route, however, will be rough and tough, with little flat to be found, and only in the opening kilometres. From there on, the riders will spend the rest of the stage either going uphill or downhill. Major highlights will be the categorised climb in Enna and the finish in Caltanissetta, on a slight incline, 556 metres above sea level.

Palma di Montechiaro, the stage start location, is a town with a population of 20,000 in the province of Agrigento. Major landmarks here include the Chiaramonte Castle, which was built atop a promontory in the mid-14th century as a watchtower against the Saracen pirates that had become the terror of the Mediterranean area back then.

The town’s other claim to fame is that it was founded by Carlo Caro Tomasi, an ancestor of the writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the author of the masterpiece book “The Leopard”, for which it served as an inspiration.

The novel narrates the changes in Sicilian life and society through the events of the Risorgimento, from the moment when the Bourbons were overthrown to the transition towards Italy as a unitary state. Such a change was far from simple, and loaded with uncertainty, just like the route of this stage.

There is, however, one major difference between the book and this stage of the Giro di Sicilia.

The most famous quotation from The Leopard says that “everything must change so that everything can stay the same”, but the route that will take the peloton from Palma di Montechiaro to Caltanissetta would suggest otherwise.

After this stage, nothing – and especially the red and yellow leader’s jersey – will stay the same on GC.

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