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The final weeks of the 2021 European road race season will include a new series of races organised by Filippo Pozzato in the Veneto region of northern Italy, with an innovative professional gravel race placed between the Giro del Veneto on Wednesday October 13, and the new Veneto Classic on Sunday, October 17. 

The Serenissima Gravel race will be held on Friday, October 15, with a Granfondo VENEtoGO ride on Saturday, October 16 open to the public. 

The series of races and rides has been called “Ride The Dreamland” and was officially presented in the Venice Casino on Thursday evening. The goal of the race series is to promote cycling and tourism in the Veneto region. 

Pozzato, who is from Sandrigo near Vicenza, in the heart of the Veneto, retired in 2018 after a 15-year professional career that included victory in Milan-San Remo. He successfully organised the Italian national championships in 2020 with business partner Jonny Moletta and hopes to secure a place in the WorldTour for the Veneto Classic race. 

“Our concept for the events is focused on offering the public a full spectrum of events, not only a bike race. There has been months and months of hard work by our entire group and now we are ready for the start of something special,” Pozzato said in Venice.   

“Our special thanks goes to our partners, Regione Veneto but also the Veneto Federation of the BCC, Campagnolo, Wilier, Sidi, Elite and Vittoria. Without their support, this multi-year project wouldn’t have seen the light.”

“UCI President David Lappartient has told us that if things go well, we can aim to have the Veneto Classic in the WorldTour in two or three years. We’d love to see the race start in St Mark’s Square in the heart of Venice and so create one of the most spectacular race starts ever seen,” Pozzato explained to Tuttobici.     

Pozzato and Moletta had to draw up special ad-hoc rules for the professional grave race with the Italian Federation.

Which big-name riders will race the Giro del Veneto, the Serenissima Gravel and the Veneto Classic remains to be seen, with some of the Classics riders ending their season after Paris-Roubaix on October 2 and others after Il Lombardia on October 9. However, a quality start-list is expected, including a number of WorldTour teams. 

The 168km Giro del Veneto will start in Cittadella and finish in Padova after a loop to Vicenza, the home of Campagnolo, and then south into the Colli Euganei hills. The race will also visit Vo’ Euganeo, one of the first places in Italy struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The 126,6km Serenissima Gravel race will start in the holiday resort of Jesolo north of Venice and head inland on the Sile and Treviso-Ostiglia bike routes before finishing in Piazzola sul Brenta near Padova. It includes 11 sectors of gravel roads that make up around 75 per cent of the race distance. The race ends with three 11km laps around Piazzola sul Brenta so spectators can see the race a number of times.  

The 113km Granfondo VENEtoGO ride will start and finish in Cittadella. Click here to enter.

The 209.9km Veneto Classic will start from the edge of the Venice lagoon and visit Treviso, Conegliano and the Prosecco hills before finishing in Bassano del Grappa after three 13.8km circuits that include the La Rosina climb and the Muro della Tisa cobbled climb. 

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Stephen Farrand
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