Dumoulin wins opening stage of Giro d’Italia, Froome 21st

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JERUSALEM (AP) With Chris Froome likely feeling the ill effects of a training crash, defending champion Tom Dumoulin won the opening stage of the 101st Giro d’Italia on Friday.

Froome, who bloodied his right knee and ripped his shorts and jersey in the crash shortly before the time trial started, finished 37 seconds behind Dumoulin in 21st place.

Dumoulin said he heard about Froome’s crash before the race and was aware of the tricky route that snaked through Jerusalem.

“The roads were OK. They were a little bit bumpy. … it was very technical and very demanding and very challenging course, but for me it was OK,” said the Dutchman, who rides for Team Sunweb. “You just have to be careful and take some good corners and be cautious when you have to be.”

Froome, a British cyclist who won both the Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta last year, is looking to become only the third person ever to win the three Grand Tour titles in a row.

Dumoulin was the last of the 175 riders to start the stage and finished the 9.7-kilometer (6-mile) time trial in 12 minutes, 2 seconds to claim the pink jersey. Australian rider Rohan Dennis was two seconds behind in second place.

Thousands of spectators lined Jerusalem’s streets to watch the first time a Grand Tour cycling race has ever been held outside Europe. The cyclists passed Israel’s parliament, Supreme Court, the Israel Museum and the Hebrew University on their route through the city.

The historic opening of the race concluded just as the previous one ended, with Dumoulin grabbing the overall lead in an individual time trial. Last year, he entered the final stage in Milan in fourth but surged to victory.

On Friday, he chased down Dennis, who is the team leader of BMC Racing, to win the opening stage. Victor Campenaerts of Lotto Soudal finished third with the same time as Dennis.

“This is all I wished, the win and quite a lot of time on the other GC riders,” Dumoulin said. “I knew I was ready for the Giro but I wasn’t sure I’d win today. The course was hard but absolutely perfect for me.”

Although the 27-year-old Dumoulin is likely to hold onto the lead during the early stages in Israel, he said it would be difficult to maintain his advantage for the entire race.

“We are not planning on defending it every day. The Giro is still very long. It’s nice to have it today but it’s hard to keep it for the whole three weeks,” the Dutchman said. “We are not planning on defending it whatever the cost. It is going to be a pretty hectic, difficult and hard weeks.”

Jerusalem’s opening leg was named in honor of Gino Bartali, a three-time former Giro champion who in 2013 was posthumously bestowed Israel’s highest honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II.

The second leg of the race stretches 167 kilometers (104 miles) down the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv. Stage 3 will follow a 229-kilometer (143-mile) route from Beersheba in the Negev desert down to Israel’s southern tip of Eilat along the Red Sea.

The race will then transfer to Italy, and the island of Sicily, for an early rest day on Monday. The Giro will end in Rome on May 27.

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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.