Astana team denies links with doping doctor Ferrari

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BRUSSELS — The Astana cycling team denied any association with Michele Ferrari on Monday following media reports that Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang is being investigated for links with the banned doping doctor who previously worked with Lance Armstrong.

According to Danish media, Fuglsang is suspected by the governing body of cycling of taking part in a doping program designed by Ferrari.

Citing a “secret report” from CADF, the cycling body’s anti-doping unit, the Politiken newspaper also reported that Astana teammate Alexey Lutsenko attended a meeting between Fuglsang and Ferrari.

“The team does not collaborate with any suspicious doctor, such as Dr. Michele Ferrari,” said Astana, the team run by former pro rider Alexandre Vinokourov. “The riders are not authorized to consult any doctors external to the team in order to perform any activity, or to be prescribed any diet or treatment, related to their performance.”

Like Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping, Ferrari was banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Ferrari is not allowed to consult with athletes.

Astana denied any wrongdoing.

“For the time being, no procedure has been initiated against any rider affiliated to the team,” Astana said in a statement. “The Astana Pro Team trusts that if the CADF had any evidence of wrongdoing by any rider of the team, disciplinary proceedings would have been immediately initiated in accordance with anti-doping regulations and the World Anti-Doping Code.”

The 34-year-old Fuglsang has been on the Astana team since 2013. Politiken, one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, noted the Dane had made “noticeable progress” in 2019.

Fuglsang enjoyed one of his most successful seasons last year where he won the Tour of Andalucia, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Criterium du Dauphine and a stage at the Spanish Vuelta.

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.