Dideriksen edges favorite Wild in women’s road cycling championships

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DOHA, Qatar — Amalie Dideriksen surprised even herself when her late surge edged her ahead of favorite Kirsten Wild and won the women’s race at the road cycling world championships on Saturday.

Lotta Lepisto of Finland was third with the same time, and defending champion Elizabeth Deignan of Britain fourth.

The 20-year-old Dideriksen was the world junior champion in 2013 and 2014, and finished fifth in the omnium at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. But the quality of the field at the road worlds made her consider only a top-10 finish.

“Winning here is a surprise for me, too,” the Dane said. “I had such good teammates. I had a small crash and they brought me back.”

The Netherlands team was in control heading toward the sprint finish, with Marianne Vos in perfect position to win her fourth road race world title as the group entered the final 300 meters. Her compatriot Wild, considered a Doha specialist having won the Ladies Tour of Qatar four times, then took over.

But Dideriksen, who was 17th with one lap to go, unleashed an even better finish.

The 134-kilometer race started in 35-degree heat, and Japan champion Eri Yonamine was the first to attack.

On the second of seven laps of the man-made island Pearl, Wild crashed, got up quickly, and was soon brought back into the peloton.

Yonamine was joined by Switzerland’s Nicole Hanselmann up front, and the duo was ahead by 40 seconds with 84 kilometers to go.

There were relentless attacks by Netherlands, Germany, Britain, and Australia, and the leaders were reeled in around the halfway mark.

American Amber Neben attacked with three laps to go, and opened up a gap of 45 seconds with two laps to go, which was brought down to 24 seconds after another lap. But the Dutch, Australians, and British soon took over and were bunched up closing on the finish.

On Sunday, the championships end with the men’s race. Peter Sagan of Slovakia is the defending champion.

Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under

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ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia’s Jay Vine defended his overnight lead to win the Tour Down Under, the first event of the 2023 World Tour.

Simon Yates of Britain won the final stage and moved up from third to second place on overall standings. Vine came in second on the stage to secure the biggest win of his career in a stage race.

The UAE Team Emirates rider took the overall tour lead when he finished second in Stage 2 and third in Stage 3. He came into the final stage with a 15-second lead on general classification.

The 70-mile stage involved four laps of a 15.5 mile-circuit through the Adelaide Hills before finishing just beyond the summit of Mount Lofty.

Yates led the crucial attack on the ascent less than 1.2 miles from the finish, but Vine jumped onto his wheel and Australian Ben O’Connor also joined in.

O’Connor led out close to the finish line, Vine briefly passed him but Yates came over the top to claim the stage win. Vine retained his overall advantage and claimed the title in his debut appearance in the Tour Down Under.

The 27-year-old made his name in e-Sports before being signed by the UAE team after winning the academy program on the Zwift online platform. He won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana last year and the Australian Time Trial title.

“It’s pretty incredible to be standing here and wearing this jersey,” Vine said. “The way we drove that was first class. My guys were incredible.”

The final stage featured a breakaway of 13 riders but Vine’s UAE teammates led the chase by the peloton and put their rider in a position to contest the win.

Yates again rode an aggressive race but had to be happy with the stage win.

“We came Down Under with a lot of ambition. We put a lot into it and we didn’t come away with the overall but we can walk away pretty happy,” Yates said. “Obviously Jay Vine is a massive talent and the crowd will be happy with a local winner.”

France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads

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ADELAIDE, Australia — French cyclist Bryan Coquard won Stage 4 of the Tour Down Under for his first-ever World Tour win, while Australia’s Jay Vine retained the overall tour lead by 15 seconds with one stage remaining.

Coquard is a lightweight sprinter who has had 49 wins in a decade-long career but had never won on the World Tour until he cleared out near the finish to claim the 82-mile stage by a margin of about just over 100 feet.

Vine was among the leading group that shared Coquard’s winning time and who retained his lead on general classification over Britain’s Simon Yates and Germany’s Phil Bauhaus. The race concludes with Stage 5, which ends atop 2,329-foot Mount Lofty.

“It’s a long time that I’ve waited for this win, 10 years,” said Coquard, who rides for the French Cofidis team. “I never really expected and I’m very happy and relieved with this win.”

While the stage was flat and suited sprinters, it had its challenges. Cross-winds and occasional gradients made the stage difficult and confounded some riders.

After an early breakaway by Jonas Rutsch and former tour winner Daryl Impey of South Africa, the peloton broke into two groups with Vine and other tour leaders among the leading group.

The leading group stayed together around the last, sharp bend towards the finish and Coquard bided his time until his late sprint left other riders flat-footed.

“It was pretty stressful,” Vine said. “There was one point there, I thought we were going to have an easy day and I was happy, smiling, waving to families on the side of the road.

“Then, 45 kilometers in it was on and it was on until the end so it was a very hard day. There was a lot more calorie expenditure than I was planning.”