Julian Alaphilippe wins Velo d’Or award

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PARIS — Julian Alaphilippe capped a successful season during which he wore the Tour de France’s yellow jersey for 14 days by winning the Velo d’Or award as the best rider of 2019 on Sunday.

Alaphilippe, who rides for the Belgian Deceuninck-Quick-Step team, became the first Frenchman to receive the award since Laurent Jalabert back in 1995.

The 27-year-old Alaphilippe amassed 12 victories in 2019, including prestigious trophies at the Milan-San Remo classic, the Strade Bianche and the Fleche Wallonne.

“I am very happy with the incredible season I’ve had and to receive the Velo d’Or is a beautiful way to conclude this amazing year,” Alaphilippe said. “It’s a great honor. It was an unforgettable campaign, with many beautiful moments.”

Alaphilippe played a key role in one of the most exciting Tour de France editions in decades this summer, challenging race favorites with flair and panache. He won two stages before eventually cracking during the final week of racing but his showmanship and unpredictable style gained him many admirers.

“I want to perform well at the start of the next season, then June and July will be big,” Alaphilippe said about his goals in 2020. Next year’s Tour starts on June 27 from the city of Nice.

The Velo d’Or awards are decided by an international panel of cycling journalists. Alaphilippe was voted ahead of Tour de France winner Egan Bernal and Primoz Roglic, who won the Spanish Vuelta this year.

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.