The one-off event is being put on by the organisers of the three-week Italian Grand Tour, RCS Sports, in collaboration with the Dubai Sports Council and Expo 2020 Dubai. The race is being held as part of the ‘Made in Italy’ campaign at the World Expo and will be run on a 2.1 kilometre circuit in the shape of the Giro d’Italia’s ‘Amore Infinito’ infinity symbol.
“International sport is a key element of Expo 2020, and we are delighted to be hosting the first-ever Giro d’Italia Criterium with the Italian pavilion and RCS Sport,” said Kevin Brown, VP Events and Entertainment, Expo 2020 Dubai. “Our partnership with RCS Sport unites a shared purpose of international cooperation towards a healthier, happier and safer planet and is a fantastic addition to Expo 2020’s full sports, fitness and wellbeing programme.”
Also racing the event will be the 2021 Giro d’Italia points classification winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), time-trial world champion Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) – who has also won six stages of the Giro d’Italia – nine-time Grand Tour stage winner Elia Viviani (Cofidis) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën Team), the winner of this year’s Giro d’Italia mountains classification.
The UAE Tour, which has run since 2019, opened up the WorldTour racing this year and the men’s World Tour squad UAE Team Emirates – home to double Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar – is ranked fourth in the world. The team is also launching a women’s squad next year after taking over Alé BTC Ljubljana’s Women’s WorldTour licence.
“We already host five international cycling events in Dubai every year, and the Giro d ‘Italia Criterium will be a novel new addition, especially since it is taking place in Expo 2020 Dubai, where the world has come together for the greatest show in history,” said Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council.
“We are pleased to work alongside our long-time partners RCS to bring this event to our cycling fans, and to promote the many benefits of cycling as a sport and a recreation activity. Cycling has grown rapidly in Dubai and the UAE over the years, since we started with the Dubai Tour in 2014, and now the UAE Tour, and I am confident events like this will give a further boost to the popularity of this sport here.”
There will also be a ‘meet and greet’ session with the race’s competitors the day before the event and a gala dinner in celebration of the inaugural race.