Lopez leads Astana to opening win in Spanish Vuelta

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TORREVIEJA, Spain — Colombia rider Miguel Angel Lopez led Astana to a team time-trial victory as the Spanish Vuelta got underway on Saturday.

Astana finished with a time of 14 minutes, 51 seconds over a 13.4 kilometer (8.33 mile) flat, urban circuit on the streets of Torrevieja in southeastern Spain. It ended two seconds in front of Deceuninck-Quick Step, and five ahead of Team Sunweb.

Primoz Roglic, a Slovenian who transitioned from ski jumping to cycling in 2012 and was one of the pre-race favorites, was involved in a crash with other riders from his Jumbo-Visma team.

The year’s Vuelta is without many top names, including defending champion Simon Yates, Tour de France winner Egan Bernal and Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz.

Geraint Thomas, Julian Alaphilippe, Tom Dumoulin, Vincenzo Nibali, Mikel Landa and two-time former Vuelta champion Chris Froome are also absent.

In Sunday’s second stage, riders will face a hilly route of nearly 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Benidorm to Calpe on the southeastern coast of Spain.

The 21-day race is expected to be decided in the northern mountains. It will hit the Pyrenees in the enclave country of Andorra on Stage 9, when riders will face five mountain climbs in 94 kilometers (58 miles).

Stages 13, 15 and 16 are also hard mountain hikes that will whittle down the title hopefuls before a final week in the rugged hills of central Spain.

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.

Ellen van Dijk defends time trial title at cycling worlds

95th UCI Road World Championships 2022 - Women Individual Time Trial
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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Ellen van Dijk defended her title and claimed a third women’s time trial gold medal at the opening event of the world road cycling championships on Sunday.

Taking advantage of a technical course the Dutch star maintained a perfectly paced cadence to beat Australia’s Grace Brown by 12.79 seconds to defend the time trial gold she won last year. Swiss rival Marlen Reusser took bronze.

Local favorite Brown was one of the early staters and set a blistering time around the 34.2 kilometer (21.3 miles) course at the scenic coastal town center of Wollongong, south of Sydney.

No other in the 45-strong field could get close to Brown’s time of 44 minutes 41.33 seconds until the final pair of van Dijk and Reusser, who claimed silver at last year’s world championships in Belgium, both clocked faster at the first time check.

Reusser then faded to finish more than 41 seconds off Brown’s time, but van Dijk powered on to claim her third gold medal in a time of 44:28.60.

Olympic time trial champion and two-time world champion Annemiek van Vleuten finished seventh, more than 90 seconds behind compatriot van Dijk.

Later Sunday, Vuelta a Espana winner Remco Evenepoel from Belgium, Italian two-time defending world champion Filippo Ganna and two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar from Slovenia headline the men’s event.

Other major races are the mixed relay time trial on Wednesday and the women’s road race next Saturday before the men’s race on the closing day Sunday, with local star and Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley racing the clock to recover from COVID-19 to take his place in the race.