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Peter Sagan beats Egan Bernal to win first Giro d'Italia Criterium

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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Peter Sagan SVK Bora Hansgrohe Egan Bernal COL Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Peter Sagan wins it (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Peter Sagan SVK Bora Hansgrohe Egan Bernal COL Ineos Grenadiers Marc Hirschi SUI UAE Team Emirates photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

The podium ceremony (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Egan Bernal COL Ineos Grenadiers Marc Hirschi SUI UAE Team Emirates photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Bernal drives the key break (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Egan Bernal COL Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Egan Bernal (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Egan Bernal COL Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Bernal in the maglia rosa (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Filippo Ganna ITA Ineos Grenadiers Elia Viviani ITA Cofidis Peter Sagan SVK Bora Hansgrohe Egan Bernal COL Ineos Grenadiers Geoffrey Bouchard FRA AG2R Citroen Team photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

The start line (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Attila Valter HUN Groupama FDJ photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Valter drives an early break (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Egan Bernal COL Ineos Grenadiers Peter Sagan SVK Bora Hansgrohe photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

The roll-out (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Egan Bernal COL Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Egan Bernal in the bunch (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Filippo Ganna ITA Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Filippo Ganna with a solo break (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Elia Viviani ITA Cofidis photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Viviani takes the bunch sprint (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Filippo Ganna ITA Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Filippo Ganna had the fastest lap (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Elia Viviani ITA Cofidis photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Viviani won the points classification (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giro dItalia Criteirum Expo 2020 Dubai 06112021 Attila Valter HUN Groupama FDJ photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Attila Valter was deemed most combative (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 'won' the inaugural Giro d’Italia Criterium Dubai, triumphing in a two-up sprint against 2021 Giro champion Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers).

The duo went clear with just over a kilometre to go on the final lap of the 63km event, powering away from their breakaway companions Marc Hirschi (UAE-Team Emirates) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën).

In the end it was a comfortable sprint win for three-time world champion Sagan - wearing the ciclamino jersey he had as points classification winner at the Giro - against the much lighter Bernal, who was wearing the famous maglia rosa.

Hirschi won the sprint for third several seconds ahead of the rest of the bunch.

The decisive selection happened with two laps and just over 4km to go, as Bernal attacked, and was followed by Bouchard, Hirschi and finally Sagan, leaving the main bunch behind to fight for fifth place.

The Giro d’Italia Criterium Dubai consisted of a 30-lap exhibition race held on a 2.1-kilometre circuit, the course forming the shape of the Giro d’Italia’s ‘Amore Infinito’ symbol used to inspire the trophy of the Italian Grand Tour. 

According to race organisers RCS, it is believed to be the first ever sporting event to take place at a World Expo.

Speaking after his victory, Sagan said: "I’m very happy that I could be here, and this is a special race for all of us from the Giro d’Italia. I think we had the best riders from this year’s Giro. This short criterium is a special thing.

"It’s nice for the fans. This criterium is special because this is the Expo in Dubai and all the world is here. I’m very happy with this win, a victory is much better than not. I just appreciated that I could be here. I have to say thanks to my teammates because they controlled the race for me and did a really good job."

Sagan continued: "From the start I tried to be in the front, also for the points classification. After two sprints I saw Elia [Viviani] was much better and so I tried a different tactic. It was really fast, and definitely someone was going to go in the last three laps, and I had to recover and wait for the last two laps. 

"I just decided I was going to stay on the wheel and see what was going to happen. It just happened so fast that three guys attacked, and I went at the last moment. I almost missed it, and in the end was good."

The winner of the points classification was Elia Viviani (Cofidis), the most combative was judged to have been Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), and Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) won the fastest lap prize.

Yousif Mirza (UAE-Team Emirates), Valter and Juraj Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) were part of an early break, that at one point had ten seconds on the bunch, but they were soon caught thanks to the efforts of the three Ineos Grenadiers riders. 

In its place, an eight man move that included Fabio Aru (Qhubeka-NextHash), Brandon Rivera (Ineos Grenadiers), Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa) and Viviani also went clear, by up to nine seconds. Again, they were caught.

Ganna suffered mechanical problems late on in the race, but then attacked solo with seven laps to go; he was eventually reeled in by a chasing group that consisted of Anass Aït El Abdia (Bahrain Cycling Academy) and Valter. That group was caught with two laps to go.

In their place came the winning move of Bernal, Bouchard, Hirschi and Sagan.

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Adam Becket is the staff writer for Procycling magazine. Prior to covering the sport of cycling, he wrote about ecclesiastical matters for the Church Times and politics for Business Insider. He has degrees in history and journalism. A keen cyclist himself, Adam’s favourite race is the Tour of Flanders or Strade Bianche, and he can't wait to go to the Piazza del Campo for the end of the race one day.


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