Pogačar takes Tirreno lead after winning tough 4th stage

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PRATI DI TIVO, Italy — Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar won the tough fourth stage of the weeklong Tirreno-Adriatico to take the overall lead from Wout van Aert.

Pogačar, a Slovenian rider for UAE Team Emirates, held off a lively challenge from Simon Yates on the steep uphill finish to beat the British rider by six seconds.

Sergio Higuita edged Mikel Landa in a sprint for third, 29 seconds behind Pogačar at the end of the 148-kilometer (92-mile) leg from Terni to Prati Di Tivo that was considered the race’s toughest test.

Pogačar moved into the overall lead, 35 seconds above Van Aert and Higuita. Van Aert had led the standings since winning the opener.

“Today was a very hard stage,” Pogačar said. “My team did a great job bringing down the gap from the breakaway and then I did my best on the climb … Now I am in the lead, but tomorrow we have another really hard stage, and with the final ITT anything can still happen.”

Van Aert put in a spirited defense and withstood a number of attacks on the final 14-kilometer climb but Pogačar made his move with 5.5 kilometers remaining. The Belgian rider finished 45 seconds behind Pogačar.

“It’s a big gap,” Van Aert said. “The next stages should be on me and I’m definitely not giving up yet. I think it makes particular sense to look up and seize the opportunities that arise. I’m going to keep trying anyway.

“Pogačar, together with my teammate Primož Roglič, is the best allrounder of the moment. It is only logical that he takes over my jersey.”

Sunday’s fifth stage is a 205-kilometer (127-mile) leg from Castellalto to Castelfidardo that is mainly flat in the first half of the route but undulating in the second.

The race ends 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.