Fuglsang upsets favorites to win Criterium du Dauphine

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BRIZON, France — Jakob Fuglsang upset all favorites to become the first Danish rider to win the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday.

The Astana rider attacked on the final climb to the Plateau de Solaison in the French Alps, a grueling 11.3-kilometer (7-mile) ascent at an average gradient of 9.2 percent, to win the 115-kilometer (71.5-mile) stage and leapfrog overnight leader Richie Porte.

Fuglsang beat his Australian rival by 10 seconds thanks to the time bonus awarded to the final stage winner.

“It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say,” Fuglsang said. “Even with (the) jersey I can’t believe it. I’ve been close to the yellow jersey many times in my career. We tried to keep our positions on the general classification and it came down to a big, big fight for the overall victory.”

Fuglsang dropped Ireland’s Dan Martin on the last climb and rode on his own through the final five kilometers, asserting his credentials less than a month before the Tour de France starts.

He will be sharing the Astana leadership with Fabio Aru during the three-week race in July.

“I tried to keep cool all day and without pushing too much, I went for the stage win and I got it all,” he said. “My wife is waiting for a baby. This great victory is for her. There’s still a long way to the Tour but I’m really happy with my condition now. I’ll have to take it easy onto the Tour.”

Three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who lost ground on the final climb, finished fourth overall, 1 minute and 33 seconds off the pace and just one second behind Martin.

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.