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Track cyclist Kluge takes Giro stage; Kruijswijk keeps lead

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CASSANO D’ADDA, Italy — German rider Roger Kluge used his track cycling experience to take the biggest victory of his road career, winning the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday with a well-timed counterattack.

Steven Kruijswijk of the Netherlands had little trouble protecting his 3-minute lead over Esteban Chaves on the mostly flat 196-kilometer (122-mile) leg from Molveno to Cassano d’Adda.

Kluge responded to an attack from Filippo Pozzato in the final kilometer (mile) and easily overtook the Italian on the final straight to hold off the sprinting favorites.

Kluge had time to raise his right arm in celebration before he crossed the line in slightly more than 4 1/2 hours.

Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek-Segafredo finished second and Nikias Arndt of Team Giant-Alpecin crossed third, both with the same time as Kluge.

The 30-year-old Kluge won a silver medal in the points race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also took silver in the omnium at this year’s track worlds and a gold in the omnium at the 2010 European Championships.

“I’ve been a pro for six years and this is the big victory I have been looking for,” Kluge said. “It wasn’t planned at all. I was working for Heinrich Haussler, closing the gap for him but I saw a possibility to get away. The finishing line was very near.”

The victory comes after Kluge’s IAM Cycling team announced it would fold after failing to find a second sponsor.

“It’s a strange feeling,” Kluge said. “Yesterday we were very disappointed to hear that our team is going to stop at the end of the year but we decided to stick together and it’s wonderful to come up with a victory to make it up for our disappointment.”

Stage 18 on Thursday is the race’s longest, a 244-kilometer (152-mile) leg from Muggio to Pinerolo that starts out flat but concludes with some steep hills and a dangerous descent.

“I knew this was my last easy day before some hard stages coming up,” Kruijswijk said. “(Tomorrow) is a stage with a hard and spectacular finale after a tricky downhill. I’m ready.”

There are also two more serious mountain stages Friday and Saturday before the 99th edition of the race ends Sunday in Turin.

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.