Thibaut Pinot will skip Tour de France to focus on Giro d’Italia

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PARIS — Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won’t compete at the Tour de France this year, skipping his home race to focus on the Giro d’Italia.

Pinot, a talented rider with flair and strong climbing abilities, has enjoyed mixed fortunes at cycling’s biggest event. Last year, he went into the race with the goal of ending a 35-year drought for France but crashed in the opening stage and finished 29th in the general classification.

It was the latest setback for Pinot at the Tour. A third-place finisher in 2014, the Groupama-FDJ rider has only finished it twice since then.

Pinot skipped the Tour three years ago to focus on the Giro, where he was forced to abandon because of severe pneumonia while fighting for the title. He returned to the Tour in 2019, looking like the strongest climber in the Pyrenees only to quit the race in tears within touching distance of Paris because of a left-leg injury.

“I think the time has come for me to return to the Giro,” Pinot said Tuesday during a team presentation, adding that the Tour course did not suit his abilities this year. “Hopefully I will be back on the Tour in 2022, that’s the goal.”

The route of the Giro has yet to be unveiled. Pinot’s best result at the three-week race around Italy is a fourth-place finish achieved in 2017 on his debut.

Groupama-FDJ said will deploy its ace sprinter Arnaud Demare at the Tour following a strong 2020 season when he secured 14 wins.

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.