Entradas

Team back in action at Tours of Turkey and Sicily – Human Powered Health


Movement

Men’s squad returns to happy hunting grounds

Human Powered Health™ is gearing up for a stage race double-header next week at the Presidential Tour of Turkey and Giro di Sicilia. Two events that the program has tasted success in before with stage and overall victories in the past three years. 

First up is the Presidential Tour of Turkey, a hilly eight-day race that provides the team with chances to come away with some big results. With a wealth of bunch sprint opportunities, last year’s opening stage victor Arvid de Kleijn could have podium chances. He returns to Turkey after some time off the bike due to Covid, hoping to emulate 2021’s successes and go one better than he did in February’s Tour of Antalya.

Although the roster will mainly cater towards the fast finishers, Gavin Mannion and  Kyle Murphy will look for opportunities when the road turns skyward later on in this race, most notably the mountain top finish on stage four. 

 

Tour of Turkey stage-by-stage

4/10 Stage 1 | Bodrum – Kuşadası (202km) Hilly
There’s no easy start to this year’s Presidential Tour of Turkey, over 200km in the saddle plus a hilly final 35km and we will quickly see who has the legs for a week of tough Turkish racing. 

4/11 Stage 2 | Selçuk (Efas) – Alçatı (157km) Flat
The first obvious opportunity for the sprinters, stage two finishes on the coast with a beautiful run-in that traverses many natural wonders.

4/12 Stage 3 | Çeşme – İzmir (Karşıyaka) (119km) Flat

A pan-flat profile, there’s no doubt that this one will be a bunch gallop to the line in İzmir (Karşıyaka) with only the potential sea wind being the day’s challenger. 

4/13 Stage 4 | İzmir (Konak) – Manisa (Spill Milli Park) (148km) Mountains
The first trip to the mountains will leave a lasting impression on the general classification. The final 13.9km climb has an average gradient of 7.7% which means only the very best climbers will survive.

4/14 Stage 5 | Manisa – Ayvalık (186km) Flat 

A rest for the peloton before a hilly finish to the week, stage five is yet another chance for a sprinter like de Kleijn or Colin Joyce to get their arms in the air. 

4/15 Stage 6 | Edremit (Akçay) – Eceabat (202km) Uphill finish
The stage six tests come at the start and finish with a long climb within the first 30km and a final steep ramp that will blow the field apart.

4/16 Stage 7 | Gelibolu – Tekirdağ (132km) Rolling
With two long categorized climbs, stage seven’s parcours might be too much for the pure sprinters so opportunists will look to this day as a chance to taste victory.

4/17 Stage 8 | İstanbul – İstanbul (138km) Flat 

Although the stage is mostly flat and on a circuit in Turkey’s biggest city, the finish line is on a ramp and may prove too difficult for many sprinters.

How to watch

In North America, FloSports has live coverage of the racing and in Europe, it can be caught on the Eurosport Player and GCN+.

Into thin air

Another area of Southern Europe the team have had great success in is Sicily. With an overall victory by Brandon McNulty in 2019 and success in the climber’s competition last year, the Giro di Sicilia, running from April 12 to 15, is a race that comes with happy memories in the hills of this Italian island. 

The route certainly doesn’t pull any punches. More than 85% of Sicily is made up of hills and mountains and by looking at the stage profiles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they’ve managed to get them all into this year’s parcours. 

GP Criquielion winner Pier-André Côte will mark the undulating finale to stage one but the squad will have eyes long-term on the aptly named pistachio KOM jersey with Ben King, Chad Haga and Stephen Bassett who are always primed when opportunity knocks. 

 

Giro di Sicilia stage-by-stage

4/12 Stage 1 | Milazzo – Bagheria (199km) Flat
A relatively flat stage for an area of Italy well known for its rolling hills and mountainous terrain, there is a kick in the tail however with a gradual uphill ramp starting 4km out. Not enough to split the peloton but the winner will need legs of steel. 

4/13 Stage 2 | Palma di Montechiaro – Caltanissetta (152km) Uphill finish
The peloton says goodbye to sprints for the rest of the week as it takes the first of three successive uphill finishes, each trickier than the last. There may only be one categorized climb en route but there is still a large amount of climbing to be done. 

4/14 Stage 3 | Realmonte – Piazza Armerina (171km) Rolling
Stage three’s parcours is the definition of a rolling stage profile. The final undulating stretch gradually climbs to the finish where we can expect a showdown before the following day’s explosive finale.

4/15 Stage 4 | Ragalna – Etna (140km) Mountains
Sicilia’s Queen stage returns to the island’s highest peak, the active volcano Mt. Etna. With two climbs on the lead into the moonscape finish and the 17.7km ancient epic itself, all the classifications will come down to this.

How to watch

The Eurosport Player and GCN+ will have full and comprehensive coverage of the island tour.  

— Oskar Scarsbrook to humanpoweredhealth.com

This isn’t Italy, this is Sicily – Rally Cycling


The Giro di Sicilia is back on our racing calendar after the pandemic led to its cancellation in 2020. Running from September 28 to October 1, the four-day Mediterranean island contest is arguably the most anticipated men’s stage race of the fall block. 

General classification hunter Gavin Mannion will be returning to race in Sicily, having helped former teammate Brandon McNulty to overall victory in 2019.

More than 85% of Sicily is made up of hills and mountains, a feature that makes it the ideal challenge for Mannion.

“I was hoping there would be a Mount Etna stage again, but the last few days are plenty mountainous even without using the volcano,” says Mannion. “There are some significant climbs near the end of the final stages that will really shake up the racing and make it interesting.”

It’s been a busy racing block for Mannion, but the Massachusetts all-rounder is relishing the opportunity to take on a race that suits his skill set. 

“I feel good. I feel like I’ve recovered well, and I am now looking forward to testing my form in a race that suits me a bit better than the Tour of Britain and Volta a Portugal.”

Mannion has recovered well in the run-in to his return to Sicily

Mannion and his teammates will face stiff competition in the forms of Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler (both Movistar Team), Romain Bardet (Team DSM), David de la Cruz (UAE-Team Emirates) and local hero Vincenzo Nibali (Trek – Segafredo), all set to race.

How Sicily is different to Italy 

It may only be separated from the Italian mainland by 3km of water – patrolled by mythical creatures – but the shoe is very different to the boot. 

“Being an island with a big volcano that dominates the landscape. It’s a unique place to race,” says Mannion.

The island was an independent kingdom for 745 years up until 1816 so it does things a little differently to the Italian mainland. This storied history is reflected in the awe-inspiring ancient Greek ruins that can be found on the island. It has its own language too, with an impressive nine dialects. 

This variety is because pre-independence, Sicily had been under Byzantine, Arab, Roman, and Norman rule, making the island one of the most culturally diverse areas in Italy. As a result, locals see themselves as Sicilians first and Italians second.

The difference between the two land masses is also reflected in the cycling landscape. 

“Sicily’s definitely different from the rest of Italy. It’s kind of the wild west out there,” says Mannion. “The roads go from nice Italian pavement to suddenly bombed-out, pothole-filled crazy descents, so you’ve always got to pay attention.” 

Mannion’s daunting description of the Sicilian road surfaces is something the team will be unable to escape, particularly on the mid-section of stage 3 as the peloton tackles the Pollina climb. 

For more information on the Mediterranean island and race details, we’ve cobbled together some fast and thought-provoking facts for Rally Cycling fans.

Quick Sicilian fact-file

  • Mount Etna is an active volcano ?
  • The island has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites ?
  • It’s home to the largest opera house in Italy ?
  • Sicilian’s eat ice-cream sandwiches for breakfast (brioche and gelato) ?
  • The sonnet was created on the island ?
  • Sicily is home to the ‘Shark of Messina’ Vincenzo Nibali ?

Stage by stage  

9/28 Stage 1 | Avola – Licata (179km) Rolling
The opening stage begins with an undulating start to the day before the route cuts inland to climb Ragusa Ibla. From there the race heads back to the coast before an expected bunch sprint on a slightly uphill finishing drag. 

9/29 Stage 2 | Selinunte (Castelvetrano) – Mondello (Palermo) (173km) Medium mountains
A succession of energy-sapping rolling roads and a few sizable hills lead to the final short but steep categorized climb in Carini. From there, the approach to the finish in the Sicilian capital of Palermo is incredibly technical which ought to favour a breakaway.

9/30 Stage 3 | Termini Imerese – Caronia (180km) Medium mountains, uphill finish
Stage three is raced on typically rough roads. The route starts with a diversion inland before returning to the Tyrrhenian coast for the run-in to the final 4km climb. With 12 switchbacks, it’s a dizzying and steep finish.  

10/1 Stage 4 | Sant’Agata di Militello – Mascali (180km) Mountainous
The final stage truly lives up to the island’s mountainous billing. The first half of stage 4 takes in the Portella Mandrazzi climb before heading up the Sciarra di Scorciavacca ascent in the foothills of Etna for the finale. A fast descent then delivers the peloton to the race’s final destination of Mascali.

Giro di Sicilia roster
Nate Brown
Charles-Étienne Chrétien
Ben King
Gavin Mannion
Kyle Murphy
Emerson Oronte
Keegan Swirbul 

How to watch

Comprehensive race coverage from every stage at the Giro di Sicilia can be found on Eurosport Player and the GCN+ app. 

Following Sicily, the team will return to the mainland to race Gran Piemonte on October 7.

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com