Peter Sagan claimed victory in the first-ever Giro d'Italia Criterium, with Egan Bernal finishing second.
The Slovakian crossed the line first in the exhibition event in Dubai, following a two-up sprint with Ineos Grenadiers' Egan Bernal.
Behind them came Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) in third ahead of Ag2r Citroën's Geoffrey Bouchard.
Seven seconds later, Elia Viviani led the bunch home ahead of Grega Bole.
The criterium race, which also featured Bernal's Ineos team-mate Filippo Ganna, consisted of 30 laps of a 2.1km circuit, and took place as part of the Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo ever hosted in the specified Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, where the ‘Made in Italy’ campaign has been created to showcase Italian excellence.
While this was Bernal's first time in Dubai, the Colombian saying he was looking forward to once again wearing the maglia rosa he won in Italy in May earlier this year, Peter Sagan returned to the country having competed in the first-ever Abu Dhabi Tour, with this outing in the Middle East one of his last in a Bora-Hansgrohe jersey before his switch to Total Energies in the new year.
"This was a very special race, it is incredible to be here and have the opportunity to ride the Giro d'Italia Criterium at Expo 2020 Dubai. I am very happy I could take the win in this unique place," Sagan said afterwards. "I want to thank my teammates that kept the race under control. In the first part of the Criterium, I tried to be in the front and contest the sprints to win the Points Classification but I soon realised Elia Viviani was faster than me today. I decided to change my tactic. I tried to recover for 10-15 laps, it was a very fast race. Then in the last few laps Bernal, Hirschi and Bouchard attacked and I decided to follow them – it was the right move. After Bernal attacked again, I managed to stay with him and beat him on the line. I am very happy with this success!"
In other end-of-season criterium news, the Tour de France's Saitama Criterium in Japan has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to Covid-19, the exhibition event showcasing the summer race's top talents in east Asia.
Giro d'Italia Criterium 2021 - Dubai
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 1-26-00
2. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at same time
3. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates, at five seconds
4. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra), Ag2r Citroën, at same time
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis, at 12s
6. Grega Bole (Slo)
7. Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè
8. Leonardo Marchiori (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
9. Yousis Mirza (UAE) UAE Team Emirates
10. Mattia Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabù, all at same time
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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