GEELONG, Australia — Dutch Olympian Annemiek van Vleuten sprinted clear of four other lead riders to win the women’s event in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Saturday.
The Orica-Scott rider was leading the Rio de Janeiro Olympics road race in the last 10 kilometers in August when she crashed on a descent. Van Vleuten suffered back injuries and a severe concussion, but she soon returned to racing.
She said Saturday she is using the Olympic accident to help motivate herself – “I don’t want it to disappear, because it was one of the best races of my life and I don’t want to ever forget about it – only the ending, maybe,” she said.
The race Saturday had 87 starters from 15 teams and covered 113 kilometers (70 miles).
Van Vleuten finished in a time of 3 hours, 4 minutes, 13 seconds. American Ruth Winder was second, Mayuko Hagiwara of Japan third, Lucy Kennedy of Australia fourth and Britain’s Emma Pooley fifth, all in the same time as the winner.
GENT, Belgium (AP) Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet won his second race in three days Sunday, beating fellow Belgian Jens Keukeleire in a two-man sprint finish to take the Gent-Wevelgem classic.
World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won last year’s race, finished third.
The 249-kilometer (154.7-mile) race through Belgium included two ascents of the steep, cobbled Kemmelberg hill, one of the iconic climbs of the spring classics season.
Last year’s race was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie after a fall.
Sagan fell Friday in the E3 Harelbeke, which Van Avermaet also won to add to his victory last month in Het Nieuwsblad.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain won his second Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.
Valverde secured the victory by finishing first in the 139-kilometer (86-mile) seventh stage, perfectly timing his final sprint at a hilltop overlooking Barcelona.
He finished the weeklong race more than one minute ahead of Alberto Contador and Marc Soler, who closed out the all-Spanish podium.
Valverde won despite receiving a one-minute time penalty Wednesday after race officials ruled that some Movistar riders pushed one another in Tuesday’s team time trial.
The 36-year-old Valverde had won two other stages.
Valverde also won the race in northeastern Spain in 2009, the same year he clinched the Spanish Vuelta for his only Grand Tour title.
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell out of contention during Saturday’s stage.