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Russia wins 3 medals on day 4 of world championships

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HONG KONG (AP) Russia’s Daria Shmeleva won her first individual gold medal in the women’s 500-meter time trial at the world track cycling championships on Saturday.

Shmeleva, ranked No. 6 in the world in the event, finished in 33.282 seconds to beat Germany’s Miriam Welte, whose time of 33.382 seconds left her with silver. Last year’s winner, Anastasia Voinova, qualified with the fastest time but finished in third in 33.454 seconds.

Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky and Jolien D’Hoore led the women’s madison from the start and finished first with 44 points. Elinor Barker and Emily Nelson, from Great Britain, finished in second with 34 points, and despite two falls by Alexandra Manly after being bumped by teammate Amy Cure, the second-ranked Australians finished in third with 26 points.

Chloe Dygert, the 20-year-old American who missed setting a world record in the qualifying round of the women’s individual pursuit by less than a second, won her second gold medal of the championships in the event with a time of 3 minutes, 24.641 seconds. She beat Australia’s Ashlee Ankudinoff, who finished in 3:31.784, in the final, and the United States’ Kelly Catlin won the bronze medal race in 3:30.365.

France’s Thomas Benjamin won the men’s omnium with 149 points. Spain’s Albert Torres Barcelo, who opened the final race as the leader, finished in third with 138 points, with Aaron Gate, of New Zealand, finishing two points behind Benjamin in second.

Russia’s Denis Dmitriev, a bronze medalist in both last year’s world championships and the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, did not lose a heat in the men’s sprint race and claimed the gold medal. He beat the Netherlands’ Harrie Lavresen in the final, with Ethan Mitchell of New Zealand edging Great Britain’s Ryan Owens for bronze.

2019 Tour will honor 1st victory of 5-time champion Merckx

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BRUSSELS (AP) The start of the 2019 Tour de France will be all about honoring Eddy Merckx in his hometown of Brussels.

Merckx, known as “The Cannibal” for his ferocious taste for victory, won the first of his five Tours in 1969. Half a century later, the Belgian great still sees it as one of the major accomplishments for a cyclist generally considered to be the greatest ever.

“I wore the yellow jersey 96 times. It is the best memory of my career. It still gives me goosebumps,” Merckx said during Tuesday’s presentation of the Grand Depart – the opening weekend of the three-week Tour.

Merckx also won a record 34 Tour stages and is among four riders who won the Tour a record five times. French riders Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, and Spanish great Miguel Indurain are the others.

Tour organizers said it will be the second time the race will set off from the Belgian capital, which hosted the race’s Grand Depart in 1958.

The 2019 race will also mark 100 years since the race leader’s yellow jersey was created.

When it comes to the first two stages on July 6-7, the iconic Wall of Geraardsbergen climb should take center stage.

The 192-kilometer (119-mile) first stage of the Tour will have the Wall, for decades the toughest climb in the Ronde of Flanders classic. The Wall will come early but the stage, which makes a big loop south of Brussels, is still set up for a sprint finish close to the royal palace.

It will also have its stretch of famed Flemish cobblestones and will pass through the hometown of soccer player Eden Hazard.

The second stage will be a 28-kilometer team time trial through the Belgian capital along its wide-open boulevards. The riders will also pass by St. Pieters-Woluwe in suburban Brussels, where Merckx lived as a child and where he got to pull on his first yellow jersey.

From Brussels, it is an easy trek south into nearby France for the rest of the race.

Peter Sagan wins prelude to Tour Down Under

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ADELAIDE, Australia — Three-time world road racing champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia made an outstanding start to the 2018 cycling season Sunday when he won the People’s Choice Classic, a prelude to the first World Tour event of the season, the Tour Down Under.

Sagan beat star sprinters Andre Greipel of Germany and Caleb Ewan of Australia in a bunch sprint to win the 50.6 kilometer (31.4 mile) race over 22 laps of a street course in central Adelaide.

The win means Sagan will wear the tour leader’s ocher jersey in the first stage of the six stage Tour Down Under on Tuesday. Sunday’s race does not count toward general classification.

Ewan won the race in each of the past two years and Greipel is the only three-time winner. The 132-strong field that lined up for the race Sunday included seven former winners.