– As I was watching the winner of the final stage of the Tour of Sicily (Giro di Sicilia) crossing the Finish line on top of Mount Etna I was wondering why on earth I never heard about this exciting 4 days stage race across the beautiful Sicilian island?
Then after a quick search I discovered the reason I never heard of it was because 42 years have passed since the last time the Sicilian race was held.
The race being rated 2.1 on UCI status calendar it was mainly attended by Category 2 Continental Pro teams as Most UCI World Tour pros focus on the Flanders Classics.
Nonetheless the 4 days race was as exciting as a World Tour race would be, or even better compared with some boring long stages we get sometimes on famous grand Tours.
The Sicilian scenery and the typical nervousness of an Italian race made it great to watch every day.
And then I discovered two highly skilled riders; Brandon McNulty (Rally UHC Cycling) and Guillaume Martin (Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team)
First of all Brandon won the 4 days Overall classification like a UCI World Tour pro! But he did it in great class.
He must have burst the TV screen and splashed in the rolling eyes from many World Tour teams director with his complete rider skills show on the last 20k of stage 3.
A superb rider, perfectly positioned on his bike, cool headed never gave up to the peloton chasing him under the rainy, powerful in climbing, skillful descender.
A complete skillful rider, I fell in love (for his riding style!) with Brandon and I look forward to follow him more.
His next appearance will be among the UCI Pro Tour race of La Fleche. The pro peloton will definitely be a different league than the cat. 2 of the Tour of Sicily but I will keep an eye on this Champion to see how he is doing among the big boys.
Then the other revelation is Guillaume Martin. He won the final stage on top of Mount Etna beating Dayer Quintana from Team Neri Sottoli Selle Italia KTM (That’s a long name!).
Guillaume Martin is not only (if I may say) a great climber as he won the final stage on top of the Sicilian volcano with a comfortable margin over his rivals but he is also an interesting character as he hold a Master of Philosophy with a thesis based on Nietzsche.
The “nietzschéen French racer” has also wrote a theater play and a book based on Plato philosophy called “Socrate à vélo” published in 2019 in France.
Guillaume Martin has got a little bit more exposure to World Tour races than Brandon as he already participated at the Tour de France 2017 as his team got a wild card to participate but the Giro di Sicilia opened my eyes on this gifted rider.
I enjoyed this year Tour of Sicily and I have added to my 2020 calendar of “Races to watch”.
I will review these two talented riders bike in due time dedicated blog post.