After Tuesday’s official presentation of the 2017 Giro d’Italia in Milan, we now know what will be the main features of next May’s race. After the opening three stages on the island of Sardinia, the peloton will hop across the sea to Sicily for stage four and five, where Sicily native Vincenzo Nibali will be hoping to take over the race leader’s maglia rosa.
Words: John Wilcockson | Image: Yuzuru Sunada
Nibali will have a great opportunity of doing this, because the 180-kilometer stage 4 takes in the 31-kilometer-long climb to Portella Femmina Morta at half-distance before tackling the rugged, lava–covered slopes of Mount Etna at the finish. This image shows the black lava and the snow-covered peak when the Giro came this way in 2011 for stage 9.
Next year, the Etna climb will start in Nicolosi and ascend for more than 17 kilometers to the 6207-foot (1,892-meter) summit, with a steepest pitch of 12 percent halfway up. The Etna winner at the same summit in 2011 was Alberto Contador, who finished a few seconds ahead of Venezuelan climber José Rujano and 50 seconds ahead of a five-man chase group that included Nibali.
It looks like Contador may well be on the start line in 2017 and that Nibali will again be a main rival. Stage five next year ends in Messina, Nibali’s hometown….