Giro stage 9 preview

Blast-off on Etna

Europe's most active volcano is the setting for this potential race highlight.

The start will be fast as a break tries to form while heading south from Vincenzo Nibali's home city of Messina. Then the sharp climb to Taormina will warm climbing legs. Soon after comes the first ascent of Etna, rising for nearly 30km to more than 1,600m – not steep but it will be sapping. The descent to Acireale offers some respite but then the route heads up Etna's steeper southern side. The final 25km towards the Sapienza refuge averages 6 per cent and should provide racing fireworks to suit the location.

Details

Distance: 169km

Highest point: 1,892m

Category: Mountain stage

Italo Zilioli says...

"Because it's Sicily, Nibali will target it and Liquigas will ramp it up on the second ascent. It will be epic, and very emotional as they honour the 1908 earthquake victims. I wouldn't be surprised if the winner here wears pink in Milan."

Map

Image ©: RCS Sport

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This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com

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