Froome crashes in training ahead of Giro d’Italia start

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JERUSALEM (AP) Chris Froome got off to a rocky start in his quest to win a third consecutive Grand Tour title, crashing during a training run ahead of Friday’s opening stage of the Giro d’Italia and drawing blood around his right knee.

A video showed the four-time Tour de France champion limping gingerly after the accident. His shorts were ripped around the hip and his jersey was ripped near his shoulder blade. He appeared to also have an abrasion on the right side of his body.

Team Sky said Froome was slightly injured but would compete in the opening time trial.

It was hardly an ideal start for Froome, who is facing a potential doping ban after a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol that was twice the permitted level.

Froome is looking to become only the third person ever to win the three Grand Tour titles in a row.

Team Sky coach Nicolas Portal told Eurosport that Froome’s front wheel slid at low speed during the first lap of training but that the accident would not prevent the British rider from competing.

“It’s pretty painful obviously, but then straight away he went right back on his bike and he did two laps again,” Portal said. “It’s going to be a painful TT for him but he is fine.”

Astana team leader Miguel Angel Lopez also crashed in training but the Colombian will compete as well. Belarussian cyclist Kanstantstin Siutsou of the Bahrain-Merida team was not as fortunate. He was knocked out of the race after a nasty spill.

The series of crashes came shortly before the Giro opened in Jerusalem, the first time a Grand Tour cycling race has ever been held outside Europe. The 9.7-kilometer (6-mile) opening time trial passed Israel’s parliament, Supreme Court, the Israel Museum and the Hebrew University in its route through Jerusalem.

The 167-kilometer (104-mile) second stage on Saturday will whizz down the Mediterranean coast from Haifa to Tel Aviv. Stage 3 will follow a lengthy, 229-kilometer (143-mile) route – the second-longest leg of the entire race – 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 ends 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.