After winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro d'Italia for the first time in his career this year, Danilo Di Luca is now aiming to continue his winning form all the way to November. The Italian, who has had a stellar season to date, is aiming to take out the world's richest bike race in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi, largest of the seven United Arab Emirates, is busily planning the event - a three stage race that will cover just 212 km - organised by Unipublic. The prestigious event, where only six teams can qualify and a further six will receive wild cards, is being heralded as 'the race of champions'.
The six teams that will receive invites will be that of the individual Grand Tour winners, as well as the teams that win the team's classification of the three Grand Tours. Liquigas and Di Luca are the first combination to book a place in the $1 million dollar race, where the winner will take home more than the prize money of all three Grand Tours combined, having won the Giro.
"This was my first Giro victory, but I want to continue winning to make 2007 the best season of my career, and this would obviously end with triumph in November's Abu Dhabi Cycling Race of Champions," said Di Luca. "The whole cycling world is talking about this fantastic event."
Tarek Al Kays, CEO of Kenzay Abu Dhabi, said that there has been a massive amount of interest in the race. "We are receiving calls daily from companies and professional teams in the UAE and places as far as Australia, South Africa and Switzerland who want to enter the race," said Al Kays.
As part of the 10-day cycling festival there will be a pro-am event, gala dinners and two public concerts with local and international performers.