Ackermann wins Stage 2 of Giro; Roglic maintains overall lead

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FUCECCHIO, Italy — Pascal Ackermann of Germany sprinted to victory at the end of the second stage of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, while Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic remained overall leader.

It was the first win in his first Grand Tour for the 25-year-old Ackermann, who rides for Bora-Hansgrohe.

Ackermann edged out Elia Viviani and Caleb Ewan in a bunch sprint at the end of the rolling 205-kilometer (127-mile) route from Bologna to Fucecchio.

“I’m just so happy to win the first sprint stage because now all the pressure is gone and we showed we are really strong,” Ackermann said. “I’m just so happy.”

All the major favorites avoided a small crash towards the front of the peloton inside the final kilometer. Ackermann and Ewan started their sprints around the same time but Ewan also lost out to Viviani who managed to secure second spot.

“I chose the right moment to sprint from 250 meters to go,” Ackermann added. “Viviani was also really strong luckily I started first and I won today. To win the first stage of my first Grand Tour is fantastic.”

The first part of the stage was wet and cold but it dried up in the second half of the day and the cyclists were able to shed some layers.

Roglic, who won the opening time trial on Saturday, is 19 seconds ahead of British cyclist Simon Yates in the overall standings and 23 seconds ahead of home favorite Vincenzo Nibali.

“It wasn’t an easy day because it was cold from the beginning and also quite fast all the time,” Roglic said. “It’ll be another day in the Maglia Rosa tomorrow. The team worked hard for that. It’s a pleasure to retain the jersey.”

Monday’s third stage is another one for the sprinters, a 220-kilometer route from Vinci to Orbetello.

The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.

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.