Five landmarks of the 2022 Giro di Sicilia EOLO: episode 4
Starting inland in Ragalna, outside Catania, the fourth stage of the 2022 Giro di Sicilia will turn clockwise around the volcano, reach Mascali almost touching the sea, and finally soar to 1,793 metres, up to Piano Provenzana, for a spectacular summit finish.
Despite being only 140 kilometres in length, this mountain stage will be the one deciding the overall champion.
Looking at the profile, two things stand out immediately.
First off, everything here is a reference to the powerful volcano, and the route truly looks like a tribute to the tallest peak of Sicily. The stage passes through Bronte at km 22, where highly prized pistachios grow the volcanic soil, then continues through Linguaglossa at km 60, which is said to be named after a huge lava flow that reached the village in ancient times, and further on through Piedimonte Etneo, all the way to the finish in Piano Provenzana, where the route painfully rises among the lava stones.
Secondly, you’ll notice that there is not a single flat metre.
With such a short route, each kilometre, each climb and descent, however short and steep, could be the perfect moment to launch a decisive attack and take stage victory, as well as the overall classification, just as Vincenzo Nibali did last year. He blasted away on these roads at 22 kilometres out, and pushed along, solo, all the way to the finish line in Mascali, snatching the leader’s jersey from Alejandro Valverde.
The Giro di Sicilia will finish atop of the Etna again this year, and there’s no doubt that thrill and enjoyment will be guaranteed, as usual.