Van der Poel wins 3rd stage of Tirreno; Van Aert keeps lead

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GUALDO TADINO, Italy — The classics riders are dominating the weeklong Tirreno-Adriatico race.

Mathieu van der Poel claimed the third stage on Friday with an authoritative sprint to follow up on wins from Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe on the opening two days.

Van der Poel, the Dutch champion who won the Strade Bianche race on Saturday, edged Van Aert and Davide Ballerini at the end of the undulating 219-kilometer (136-mile) route from Monticiano to Gualdo Tadino.

Van der Poel, who rides for the Alpecin-Fenix team, required nearly 5 1/2 hours to complete the race’s longest stage.

“It was a really hard sprint after a long stage,” Van der Poel said. “It hurts.”

After first punching the air, Van der Poel then celebrated by crossing his arms as he sat upright on his bike. He said he copied the pose from a MotoGP rider.

“We found it on Instagram and I promised my teammates that I would try to replicate it,” Van der Poel said.

In the overall standings, Van Aert is four seconds ahead of Van der Poel, with Alaphilippe third, 10 seconds behind.

Tadej Pogacar, the Tour de France titleholder, is looming in fifth place overall, 20 seconds behind. He’ll be expected to contend in Stage 4 on Saturday, a 148-kilometer (92-mile) leg from Terni to Prati Di Tivo that finishes with a major climb and is considered the race’s toughest test.

“Normally, it would be very difficult for me to retain the leader’s jersey tomorrow,” Van Aert said. “This situation is completely new for me, but I’m ready to fight. My team is very strong and we saved some energy today.

“I’ll be hanging on as long as possible. I’ll try to not lose too much time when I’ll get dropped by the climbers and we’ll figure out tomorrow evening if I can still compete for the overall victory.”

The sea-to-sea race ends on Tuesday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto.

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.

Ellen van Dijk defends time trial title at cycling worlds

95th UCI Road World Championships 2022 - Women Individual Time Trial
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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Ellen van Dijk defended her title and claimed a third women’s time trial gold medal at the opening event of the world road cycling championships on Sunday.

Taking advantage of a technical course the Dutch star maintained a perfectly paced cadence to beat Australia’s Grace Brown by 12.79 seconds to defend the time trial gold she won last year. Swiss rival Marlen Reusser took bronze.

Local favorite Brown was one of the early staters and set a blistering time around the 34.2 kilometer (21.3 miles) course at the scenic coastal town center of Wollongong, south of Sydney.

No other in the 45-strong field could get close to Brown’s time of 44 minutes 41.33 seconds until the final pair of van Dijk and Reusser, who claimed silver at last year’s world championships in Belgium, both clocked faster at the first time check.

Reusser then faded to finish more than 41 seconds off Brown’s time, but van Dijk powered on to claim her third gold medal in a time of 44:28.60.

Olympic time trial champion and two-time world champion Annemiek van Vleuten finished seventh, more than 90 seconds behind compatriot van Dijk.

Later Sunday, Vuelta a Espana winner Remco Evenepoel from Belgium, Italian two-time defending world champion Filippo Ganna and two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar from Slovenia headline the men’s event.

Other major races are the mixed relay time trial on Wednesday and the women’s road race next Saturday before the men’s race on the closing day Sunday, with local star and Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley racing the clock to recover from COVID-19 to take his place in the race.