Team pays tribute to cyclist who died in Gent-Wevelgem race

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GENT, Belgium (AP) The Wanty-Gobert team has paid tribute to cyclist Antoine Demoitie who died after an accident during Sunday’s stage of the Genk-Wevelgem classic.

The team confirmed the death early Monday, posting a black-and-white photograph of the 25-year-old Belgian cyclist with the text “Antoine Demoitie 1990-2016” on its official Twitter and Facebook pages.

Demoitie was among several competitors involved in a fall in the one-day race – won by world champion Peter Sagan – and local media reported he was struck by a motorbike.

The team said Demoitie was taken to the intensive care unit of a hospital in the northern French city of Lille and his wife and family had joined him there.

“Antoine joined Wanty-Groupe Gobert this season and wanted to ride WorldTour races,” said team manager Jean-Francois Bourlart. “Last Friday, he rode his first WorldTour race (the) E3 Harelbeke. He was part of the day’s breakaway and climbed the Taaienberg with the best. He was very proud of himself and we couldn’t have been more proud of him.”

Bourlart added: “On Sunday, the incredible happened, the inconceivable. We can’t believe it.”

The team has withdrawn from the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde race on Tuesday as well as the Route Adelie and Paris-Camembert.

Gianni Bugno, the president of the Professional Cyclists Association, called for lessons to be learned from the “terrible accident,” saying “I do not want to accuse anyone but (I want to) make everyone reflect on the responsibility we have to ensure that a very high level of attention, awareness and control over safety standards during each race is maintained.”

Giro d’Italia to start on former railway line in Abruzzo

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L’AQUILA, Italy — The 2023 edition of the Giro d’Italia will start with an individual time trial on a coastal cycle path that has been recreated from a former railway line in the region of Abruzzo.

At a ceremony in the Abruzzo capital of L’Aquila, race organizers announced that the Grand Tour will run from May 6-28 and begin with an 18.4-kilometer (11.4-mile) time trial on the Adriatic coast.

Almost the entire time trial will be on the spectacular Costa dei Trabocchi cycle path that hugs the coast line before a short climb to the finish in Ortona.

“I am excited at the idea of the Grande Partenza (Big Start) of the Giro in Abruzzo . It is a dream come true, especially with regard to the prologue on the Costa dei Trabocchi,” said Trek-Segafredo cyclist Dario Cataldo, who is from the region.

“I well remember that when the cycle path project was born and I saw the first tracks, I imagined the beauty of a Giro d’Italia passing along the route. It looked perfect.”

Stage 2 is a 204-kilometer (127-mile) leg from Teramo to San Salvo that is hilly in the first part but expected to end in a bunch sprint.

Stage 3 will also start in the Abruzzo region, in Vasto, but it will then head south and will be detailed when the full route is revealed on Oct. 17 in Milan.

The Giro will also return to the region for Stage 7, a daunting climb on the Gran Sasso d’Italia to Campo Imperatore. The high mountain stage, on May 12, will be the edition’s first finish above 2,000 meters.

Australian Jai Hindley won this year’s Giro.

Norway takes gold-medal lead at world road cycling titles

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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Soren Waerenskjold repeated Norway’s gold medal success at the world road cycling championships a day after Tobias Foss finished first in the elite men’s time trial.

Waerenskjold won the men’s under-23 time trial on the second day of the championships with a dominant performance. He clocked 34 minutes, 13.40 seconds over the 28.8-kilometer course to beat Belgian Alec Segaert by 16.34 seconds.

British rider Leo Hayter, the younger brother of elite rider Ethan Hayter, was 24.16 seconds off the pace for the bronze medal.

Foss beat a strong field to win the elite time trial, the biggest win of his career.

Norway has two gold medals, while Dutch ace Ellen van Dijk beat Australian Grace Brown to take out the women’ elite time trial.

The mixed relay time trial is set for Wednesday. The championships conclude on the weekend with the women’s road race on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday.