Ackermann wins rainy Stage 5 of Giro; Roglic stays in lead

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TERRACINA, Italy — Pascal Ackermann of Germany sprinted to victory at the end of the rain-affected fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, while Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic kept the overall lead.

It was Ackermann’s second stage win in his first Grand Tour after the 25-year-old Bora-Hansgrohe rider also took home Sunday’s second leg.

Ackermann edged out Fernando Gaviria and Arnaud Demare in a bunch sprint at the end of the mainly flat but wet 140-kilometer route from Frascati to Terracina.

“It was a two-time sprint today. I had to brake at 250 meters to go but luckily Gaviria became the perfect lead-out man for me,” Ackermann said. “It was scary all day under the rain. All the stage was scary and sprint was scary because you can’t see much. It was cold all day.”

The rain was so relentless that race organizers decided that times would be taken on the first passage of the finish line in Terracina before the final nine-kilometer loop in order to avoid another crash like the one that marred Tuesday’s fourth stage. That crash split the peloton in half inside the final six kilometers and allowed Roglic to gain precious seconds over his rival.

It also led to 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin abandoning the race a kilometer into Wednesday’s stage as he was in too much pain after injuring his left leg in the crash.

“I came here for a three-week adventure and I wanted to finish it and I’m not ready to go home yet,” Dumoulin said. “I didn’t want to be home and in two days time, be able to ride when the swelling goes down and be sad that I abandoned so I needed to try and push through with some painkillers today and it might’ve been possible.

“I would’ve always asked myself that question and now I can ask myself and I know the answer.”

Roglic, who has worn the leader’s pink jersey since winning the opening time trial on Saturday, remained 35 seconds ahead of British cyclist Simon Yates and 39 ahead of home favorite Vincenzo Nibali.

Thursday’s sixth stage is a 238-kilometer route from Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo, with an undulating finish.

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.