Late October race to act as grand final to 2024 racing season
Cyclingnews understands that a new, big-budget, end of season race will see the Grand Tour winners and the biggest names in the sport compete in Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in October 2024, in a so-called ‘Middle East Peace Race’ that brings together Israel and the Arab nations for a major sporting event.
The ProTour level is scheduled to be held between October 18-22, with an elimination-style race in Tel Aviv, a criterium around the Bahrain capital and a mountain on Jebel Hafeet in the UAE. The three race days will be divided by a travel day, with the 20 teams of five riders and the race caravan flying to the different Middle Eastern countries.
The race will serve as a grand finale to the season, with the UCI Gala awards event held after the race. The first edition in 2024 will be for men only, with a women’s race expected in 2025.
Israeli billionaire and owner of the Israel-Premier Tech team Sylvan Adams is involved in the creation of the Peace Race – which has no connection to the longstanding event of the same name in Central Europe – with the Bahrain Victorious team and Tadej Pogačar’s UAE Team Emirates squad all expected to compete on home roads.
Cyclingnews understands the Peace Race could grow in the years to come with Saudi Arabia likely to also host a stage, thanks to the Alula sponsorship of the Jayco-AlUla team and reports that the Saudi state funded Neom smart city project could take over sponsorship of the Jumbo-Visma team.
The race will highlight the recent Abraham Accord peace treaty and the improved relations between Israel and the major Arab nations, but it will perhaps also draw criticism for sportswashing.
The Peace Race will not be part of the 2024 UCI WorldTour, with the season-long series expected to end with the Tour of Guangxi in China mid-October.
The Peace Race would extend the racing season deeper into October and so clash with the Japan Cup, Chrono des Nations and Gravel World Championships. However, it will create a high-profile end of season race, much like the ATP Finals in professional tennis or professional golf’s Race to Dubai.
Source: Cycling News