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Poels wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic

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LIEGE, Belgium (AP) Dutch rider Wout Poels attacked near the end and held off Swiss veteran Michael Albasini to win the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic on Sunday for the biggest win of his career.

With four riders left in the home stretch on slippery roads, the 28-year-old Poels pulled away with about 250 meters to go, and the Team SKY rider had enough of a lead to sit up in his saddle and raise his arms as he crossed the line.

Albasini finished ahead of Portuguese cyclist Rui Costa, with 2008 Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez of Spain crossing in fourth place.

Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde was looking to win the Ardennes double for a second year after his midweek victory in the Walloon Arrow, but finished out of contention in 15th place.

A group of eight riders led for most of the 248-kilometer (154-mile) course, which was shortened by 5 kilometers (3 miles) due to snow and heavy rain along the route.

But with about 30 kilometers to go, most of that group was caught, leaving only Frenchman Nicolas Edet and Alessandro De Marchi out in front.

In driving rain, they managed to reach the top of the Col de la Redoute together, but were both caught with some 25 kilometers remaining.

Valverde was among the favorites, having become the first rider to win the Walloon Arrow four times after racing to a third straight title Wednesday.

Valverde had his eyes set on a fourth win here on the eve of his 36th birthday. Inside the last 20 kilometers, he urged his teammates to accelerate but Valverde struggled near the back of the group when some 20 riders entered the last few kilometers and he finished 12 seconds behind Poels.

With one kilometer left, Albasini attacked first, with Costa, Sanchez and Poels just behind him.

But Poels timed his attack just right to win the grueling race in 6 hours, 24 minutes, 29 seconds.

Kwiatkowski wins Tirreno-Adriatico, Dennis takes final stage

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy (AP) Michal Kwiatkowski won the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race Tuesday after an impressive time trial on the final stage, which was won by Rohan Dennis.

Kwiatkowski started the individual time trial with an advantage of three seconds over Damiano Caruso and he was quicker than the Italian rider at every time check.

The Polish cyclist eventually finished 24 seconds ahead of Caruso in the overall standings, with Geraint Thomas third, 32 seconds behind his Team Sky teammate.

“I don’t actually know the final result, just that I won, and that’s all that matters,” Kwiatkowski said. “It was very nervous. When I was warming up it started raining so I was scared something might go wrong.

“I had to go with lower tire pressure. It was tricky … I had to be careful but I had good feelings today and that’s why I could finish so well.”

Thomas lost 36 seconds to the leaders following a mechanical failure during the fourth stage of the seven-stage race.

Dennis was quickest on the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. The Australian, who also won the closing time trial last year, was four seconds faster than Jos van Emden and eight ahead of Jonathan Castroviejo.

“To be honest I was nervous about it,” Dennis said. “I was looking at the best times on the course and was thinking, `What do I need to aim for?”‘

Dygert breaks pursuit record 2x at track cycling worlds

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APELDOORN, Netherlands (AP) Chloe Dygert broke the women’s individual pursuit world record twice in winning at the world track cycling championships on Saturday.

Dygert, who anchored the Americans to another team pursuit gold medal on Thursday, lowered the individual record time by two seconds in qualifying. Then in the final against Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands, Dygert took the record down again by 0.012 seconds to retain her crown.

Dygert took the record time from compatriot Sarah Hammer, the five-time world pursuit champion who retired in September.

“Not having Sarah here was strange, she’s been to every world championship with me,” Dygert said. “But I had a (video) call with her before my final ride and that gave me a little bit of extra energy.”

In other finals, Matthew Glaetzer of Australia won the men’s sprint, Miriam Welte of Germany won the women’s 500-meter time trial four years after she first won it, Szyman Sajnok of Poland edged the men’s omnium, and British duo Katie Archibald and Emily Nelson dominated the women’s Madison.

Glaetzer defeated defending champion Denis Dmitriev of Russia en route to the sprint final, where he overpowered rising British talent Jack Carlin 2-0.

Carlin merely hoped to make the quarterfinals in his first world individual sprint race, and had to compose himself on the podium.

“I was very close to throwing up,” he said. “Throwing up during the Australian national anthem probably wouldn’t have gone down very well ahead of the Commonwealth Games (next month).”

Welte followed up her team sprint win on Wednesday with the time trial victory, beating Daria Shmeleva of Russia to reverse the result from last year.

The men’s omnium went to the final lap, with Sajnok and Jan Willem van Schip of the Netherlands tied on points. Sajnok was first across the line. Simone Consonni of Italy was third.

Archibald and Nelson won eight of the 12 sprints in the Madison, all eight in a row. Archibald didn’t defend her omnium title on Friday because she didn’t feel well. Nelson partnered with her only in the morning after Elinor Barker was ruled out after crashing in the omnium. For Nelson, it was her first world title. She and Barker were second last year.