Some pointers ahead of Stage 9 from Team Sky's Geraint Thomas...

No Sicilian has ever won the Giro, and one of the big favourites this year, Vincenzo Nibali, hails from Messina. Some 5 million people live on the island, and it would be no surprise if most of them came to cheer on their hero. Sicily’s flag is similar to that of the Isle of Man, which should give Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh some cheer as they and the rest of the peloton tackle two separate ascents of Mount Etna.

GT’s tips

Being from this part of Sicily, Nibali knows the roads, he’ll be pretty geed up for this one and be looking to make an impact for sure. It’s a big day for the GC, especially with tomorrow being a rest day. The temperature will be a factor, it will be very warm down there, which brings issues such as hydration into play too.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.