Slovenians Pogacar and Roglic dominate grueling Vuelta stage

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LOS MACHUCOS, Spain (AP) Two Slovenian friends took charge of the Spanish Vuelta on Friday, with youngster Tadej Pogacar wining the difficult 13th stage and Primoz Roglic crossing the line just behind him to increase his overall lead.

Pogacar and Roglic moved to the front during the grueling final climb at Los Machucos, getting past breakaway leader Pierre Latour with less than two kilometers (one mile) to go and finishing 27 seconds ahead of their closest chasers.

“It was a great day for Slovenian cycling to have the two of us at the front,” Roglic said. “We gave our whole until the finish. Tadej is of course a big talent with a big future. He is a good friend of mine, a nice guy, and a rival.”

Pogacar passed Roglic with less than one kilometer (half a mile) left and held on for his second stage win in this Vuelta. The 20-year-old rider from UAE Team Emirates also won the ninth stage.

“I can’t believe it’s my second stage win in my first Grand Tour. I’m extremely happy, so happy I can’t even describe it,” Pogacar said. “When I heard on the radio nobody was following me and Roglic, I realized it was a good opportunity. It’s difficult to go against Roglic, he’s really strong. So I’m very happy with what I’ve done today.”

Roglic, a former ski jumper riding with team Jumbo-Visma, opened a gap of 2 minutes, 25 seconds to Spaniard Alejandro Valverde in the general classification. Pogacar moved to third place overall but was more than three minutes behind Roglic.

Valverde was fourth in the 166-kilometer (103-mile) stage, behind Latour and ahead of Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana.

The stage started with the peloton going around the field at Athletic Bilbao’s San Mames Stadium in Bilbao. Riders then faced seven mountain passes.

They will get a relative break on Saturday in a 188-kilometer (117-mile) flat stage that will finish in Oviedo.

Pogacar teammate Fabio Aru didn’t race on Friday because of a muscle injury.

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.