After four days, 1,000km of road and over 20,000 metres of climbing, Robbie Britton and Barry Scott were still barely separated.
Just 15km separated the two riders in the final run-in to the finish, with the two even finding themselves aboard the same ferry on the way to Messina.
Britton held onto a slender lead, having pulled away from Scott on the slopes leading upwards to Mt. Etna. At about 8:30 pm, local time, Britton crested the peak and began the long descent into Nicolosi (not, however, before putting on every piece of clothing he was carrying with him).
Barring any misfortune, Britton looked to have secured 4th place in the race – but if this race had taught him anything, it was that Scott would chase him hard all the way to the finish.
Behind them, the race’s leading pair of Michele Petrone and Sergio Punzi had also made the crossing into Sicily. With another 200km of hard climbing left for them tackle before the finish, the two had a long road ahead of them still – but they also had, at least, the promise of the finisher’s party the following night to buoy their spirits.