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Alaphilippe wins Milan-San Remo for seventh win of season

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French rider Julian Alaphilippe confirmed his status as the top cyclist so far this season by winning the Milan-San Remo classic on Saturday.

Alaphilippe, who rides for the Quick-Step team, edged Oliver Naesen of AG2R and Michal Kwiatkowski of Team Sky in a 10-man sprint at the end of the 291-kilometer (181-mile) route along the Italian Riviera.

Three-time world champion Peter Sagan finished fourth.

It was Alaphilippe’s seventh win this season, adding to his Strade Bianche title this month and stage wins in the Vuelta a San Juan (2), Tour of Colombia, and Tirreno-Adriatico (2).

Alaphilippe attacked on the final climb up the Poggio and was followed by a small group of other elite riders to set up the sprint. He finished with a time of nearly seven hours.

“I will need some time to realize what I have achieved today,” Alaphilippe said. “We made the race hard and I stayed focused. … I made no mistake. It’s unbelievable.”

Fausto Masnada, the last remaining rider from an early 10-man breakaway, was caught with 25 kilometers to go.

Giro d’Italia to start in Hungary next year

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BUDAPEST, Hungary — The Giro d’Italia will start in Hungary next year.

The prelude stage will take place in Budapest, followed by two further stages on Hungarian soil.

Giro d’Italia organizers made the announcement on Tuesday at the Italian Cultural Institute in Budapest.

It will be the Grand Tour’s 14th start outside of Italy, with the most recent being in Israel last year.

This year’s Giro d’Italia will begin in Bologna on May 11 and conclude in Verona on June 2.

Gilbert beats Politt to win Paris-Roubaix

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ROUBAIX, France — Veteran cyclist Philippe Gilbert beat German rider Nils Politt right at the end of Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix race to win it for the first time.

Gilbert strategically placed himself behind the 24-year-old Politt, and then attacked him down the left to win by about a length after nearly six hours of riding. Belgian rider Yves Lampaert finished in third.

The race is one of cycling’s five high-profile classics, along with the Tour of Flanders, Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia. The 36-year-old Gilbert, a former world road race champion, has won all except Milan-San Remo.

“I still have this dream to win all them. Little by little I’m getting there,” an elated Gilbert said afterward. “Politt’s very courageous. In the end the best rider won, and thankfully it was me.”

Last year’s Paris-Roubaix winner Peter Sagan joined Gilbert and Politt near the front with about 20 kilometers left. But Sagan dropped off, leaving Gilbert and Politt to contest victory as they reached the Roubaix velodrome in northern France.

Paris-Roubaix is known as the Queen of the Classics because it is the most prestigious of the five, which are otherwise known as “monuments” of cycling.

But the grueling and dangerous 257-kilometer trek is also known as the “Hell of the North,” because of its treacherous profile including more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) of cobblestones spread out over 29 sectors.

“A lot of people said cobblestones aren’t for me. But I’ve won Tour of Flanders and now I’ve won here,” Gilbert said. “I rode a good race tactically.”

Belgian cyclist Tiesj Benoot crashed into the back of a Jumbo-Visma team car near the end of Sunday’s race, smashing the back window completely. He was taken to hospital but his injuries were not immediately known.

Last year’s Paris-Roubaix was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts, following a crash.