Richie Porte wins Tour Down Under for 2nd time

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ADELAIDE, Australia — Richie Porte of Australia won the Tour Down Under cycle race for the second time Sunday, though for the first time in seven years he failed to win the grueling stage to the top of Willunga Hill.

Porte finished second behind unheralded Englishman Matthew Holmes on a stage he has won for the last six years after a massed breakaway on the 151.5 kilometer (95 mile) finishing stage threw the overall race standings into turmoil.

Two-time defending champion Daryl Impey of South Africa entered the last of six stages with a 2 second lead over Porte on general classification in the first World Tour event of the season.

But Impey’s chances of an unprecedented third-straight win dissolved on the second of two climbs up Willunga Hill while Porte launched his trademark attack on the second climb to put the overall result beyond doubt.

Porte’s chance of extending his winning streak on the Willunga stage was lost when Holmes, riding a World Tour event for the first time, swept passed him over the crown of the hill and beat him to the finish line by three seconds.

The 26-year-old from Wigan was part of a 26-rider break which sowed panic among teams whose riders were in contention for the tour win. The breakaway maintained a lead of more than four minutes over the peloton until the first of the two climbs up Willunga Hill.

With so many riders in the break, including leading riders such as Andre Greipel, the peloton was fully stretched to close the gap. At one point the young American Joey Rosskopf, who started the day 58 seconds behind Impey on general classification and was in the leading group, held a virtual lead of more than 3-1/2 minutes on the road.

Porte’s teammate, the world road champion Mads Petersen, did a superb job of leading the peloton’s chase for the breakaway and it was through his efforts that Porte was able to finally launch his winning attack on the second climb.

The break began to fall apart on the first climb up Willunga Hill and completely broke up on the second as Porte drove to the front of the race. Impey couldn’t go with him and dropped back to finish 30 seconds behind Porte in fifth place.

“It was a little bit panic stations there in the middle (of the stage),” Porte said. “We had to do the ride for the whole day.

“My team today were absolutely fantastic. It’s been an incredible week. People are quick to single out Mads Petersen because he’s the world championship and he’s there helping me but everyone’s been incredible.”

Holmes was able to hang on when the break fell apart to challenge and eventually out-sprint Porte on a stage he has made his own.

“There’s no way I thought I would win that in such a big group,” Holmes said. “I’ve never really raced up a climb. I’ve been stuck in Britain for the last six years.

“This is my second hilltop finish this week. They seem to suit me.”

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.