The first stage of the Giro della Sicilia 2019 foresees a distance of 84 km and 1730 meters of elevation gain, with the experimentation of two timed sections: the climb of Pollina, 9 km long, placed at the beginning of the stage; and the climb of Gratteri, 7.5 km long, placed halfway through.
The stage will give us an approach to the Madonie Park, crossing some of its most characteristic municipalities.
It is a Regional Natural Park established in 1989, which includes fifteen municipalities of the metropolitan city of Palermo, in Sicily (Caltavuturo, Castelbuono, Castellana Sicula, Cefalù, Collesano, Geraci Siculo, Gratteri, Isnello, Petralia Soprana, Petralia Sottana, Polizzi Generosa, Pollina, San Mauro Castelverde, Scillato and Sclafani Bagni).
The Park extends throughout the mountain range of the Madonie, located on the northern coast of Sicily, between the rivers Imera and Pollina.
It is also home to over half of the Sicilian plant species and, in particular, of most of those present only in Sicily; concerning the fauna, there are more than half of the species of birds, all the species of mammals and more than half of the species of Sicilian invertebrates.
The geological peculiarities are also noteworthy. The geology of the Madonie is at the centre of studies and researches started in the sixties. Precisely because of the geological interest of the Madonie mountain range since 2003, the Madonie Park has become part of the European Geopark network, which includes more than twenty geological and non-geological European parks.