INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Giro di Sicilia

Giro di Sicilia – A polyvalent team in the lands of Vini Zabù


This Tuesday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will be at the start of the Giro di Sicilia (2.1, 12-15/04) for the second time, a stage race of four days with increasing difficulty on the home soil of our partner Vini Zabù. In the first edition, back in 2019, the Belgian team won the queen stage on the summit of Mount Etna, thanks to Guillaume Martin who finished second in the general classification.

The third edition of this race will start with a first stage of just under 200 kilometers between Milazzo and Bagheria, along the flat coastline of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The second and third stages will start on the south coast in the province of Agrigente, a region with rich oenological history where the grapes of Vini Zabu are ripened. Then the riders will be led into the hilly countryside. Despite both stages containing no flat kilometers, they involve only one categorized climb. On Wednesday, the top of the difficulty, Enna (4.3km at 6.1%), will be followed by a 26km descent and 6km uphill to the finish in Caltanissetta. The next day, the third stage will end in Piazza Armerina after a final race hour with lots of short and steep uphill sections.

The curtain will fall on the Giro di Sicilia on the summit of the Etna (17.7km at 5.5%) at 1800 meter of altitude after a double passage on Contrade Giuliana (10.9km at 4.9%).

Seven riders will race under the direction of Jean-Marc Rossignon, among whom Italian climber Domenico Pozzovivo who returns into competition since his thirteenth place in Tirreno-Adriatico. His compatriot Simone Petilli (10th in 2019) will race alongside him, just like South-African climber Louis Meintjes and German rider Georg Zimmermann, who recovered from his crash in Milano-Torino. Dutch cyclocross specialist Corné van Kessel makes his competition debut on the road this season and Belgian sprinter Gerben Thijssen can rely on his Dutch lead out Boy van Poppel.

Thanks to Vini Zabù, the team can rely on a new strong partner since the beginning of this year and we are very motivated to reward them with great results in their region this week. We are here with a balanced team, which can succeed both in sprints and uphill. I am confident that Domenico Pozzovivo can aim very high in the general classification. Just like many other riders in the peloton, Louis Meintjes and I got sick after the Tour of Catalunya but we both recovered well. I think that from the second stage, differences in the general classification can already be made, but surely it is at the top of Etna that the decision will be made. It is a very long climb, and what is so special about climbs of more than an hour is that even if you don't feel very good at the bottom, your sensations can change, and you can still finish well. These kinds of climbs only have to be covered a few times a year in the toughest races. The Etna will be my home base for a longer period as I planned to stay here to prepare the Giro d’Italia.

Giro di Sicilia:

Stage 1 (12/04): Milazzo – Bagheria (199km)

Stage 2 (13/04): Palma Di Montechiaro – Caltanissetta (152km)

Stage 3 (14/04): Realmonte – Piazza Armerina (171.6km)

Stage 4 (15/04): Ragalna – Etna (Piano Provenzana) (140km)

 

Selection:

Louis Meintjes
Simone Petilli
Domenico Pozzovivo
Gerben Thijssen
Corné van Kessel
Boy van Poppel
Georg Zimmermann

 

Sportive direction:

Jean-Marc Rossignon

RESULTS

General Classification

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