Jasper Stuyven wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

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NINOVE, Belgium — Jasper Stuyven prevailed in a two-man sprint on Saturday to win the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which marks the start of the Belgian Spring classics.

Stuyven edged fellow Belgian Yves Lampaert after the duo managed to escape from a seven-man group in the grueling and famed Muur van Geraardsbergen climb, 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from the finish.

Danish rider Soren Kragh Andersen managed to stay in their wheels in the finale but was ultimately dropped when Lampaert accelerated with 2 kilometers left.

After a grueling day in windy and rainy conditions, Stuyven – a former Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne champion who also claimed a stage win at the Spanish Vuelta – countered the move and led into the final bend in the city of Ninove as the sun broke through the clouds.

Lampaert opened the sprint but could not match Stuyven’s speed and power, shaking his head in frustration in his wake.

“In 2018, I was always there but didn’t win, and so of course expectations were high last year, from everyone and also myself, to take that win, and that went really badly,” said Stuyven. “It’s super nice, especially since it’s the opening classic of the season and after the super teamwork today and how everything fell into place.”

Three-time cyclo-cross world champion Wout Van Aert used the 200-kilometer race featuring a succession of cobble sections and punishing short climbs to compete in his first road race since he crashed out of the Tour de France last year.

Van Aert finished outside the top 10 after failing to get in the breakaway but took long turns in the chasing group and looked strong in the climbs.

World champion Annemiek van Vleuten posted a solo victory in the women’s race after launching an attack in the Muur van Geraardsbergen. Van Vleuten claimed her first victory in the rainbow jersey ahead of Marta Bastianelli and Floortje Mackaij.

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.