Bilbao wins Stage 7 of Giro; Conti keeps pink jersey

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L’AQUILA, Italy — Pello Bilbao won the seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia with a late attack while Valero Conti held onto the overall leader’s pink jersey Friday.

Bilbao was part of an early breakaway and accelerated uphill from a group of five riders with little more than one kilometer remaining in the undulating 185-kilometer (115-mile) stage from Vasto to L’Aquila.

Bilbao, who rides for Astana, had time to celebrate and punch the air as he crossed the line.

Tony Gallopin was second and Davide Formolo was third, both five seconds behind.

Jose Rojas, who was also part of the breakaway, moved up to second overall, 1:32 behind Conti, who took the lead a day earlier. Giovanni Carboni is third, 1:41 back, with Bilbao 11th.

Fernando Gaviria, Conti’s teammate on UAE Emirates and winner of the third stage, abandoned the race with pain in his left knee. That leaves Conti with only five riders to help him protect the lead.

The stage paid homage to L’Aquila a decade after an earthquake devastated the town in the Abruzzo region.

Stage 8 on Saturday is the three-week race’s longest, a 239-kilometer leg from Tortoreto Lido to Pesaro. The opening 140 kilometers of the stage are flat but the second half is hilly.

The Giro ends June 2 in Verona.

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.