Jasper Stuyven edges favorites to win Milan-San Remo

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MILAN — Belgian rider Jasper Stuyven beat the favorites to win the Milan-San Remo classic and claim the biggest win of his career.

Stuyven, who rides for the Trek-Segafredo team, made a brave attack with 3 kilometers remaining and held off the sprinters to edge Caleb Ewan and defending champion Wout van Aert.

The 28-year-old Stuyven took six hours, 38 minutes and six seconds to complete the 299-kilometer (186-mile) classic, which is the longest professional one-day race in modern cycling.

“I can’t describe how I feel. It’s unbelievable,” Stuyven said. “We had a plan to go for it, just to try to race for the win. I felt really good all day and the finale was going well. There was a lot of fast guys, so I knew I had to try all or nothing, which I did.

“If it had gone to the line,” he continued, “I maybe would have finished fifth or 10th but I preferred to go all in and take the biggest victory of my career. Maybe eight times out of 10 you get nothing but there are two times, or even one time, you get everything.”

There was an early break of eight riders and their advantage hovered around seven minutes for much of the opening stages.

But that had been halved by the halfway point of the race and the lead group started to break up on the series of short climbs heading to the finale.

The last of the escapees were swept up on the penultimate climb, the Cipressa, with 24.5 kilometers remaining.

There were several attacks on the final climb up the Poggio but nothing stuck. Van Aert led on the fast descent, with Ewan on his wheel, but the race was wide open until Stuyven made his move and managed to get a gap.

Soren Kragh Andersen came across to him but Stuyven kicked again inside the final 100 meters to win his first Monument. It was the 112th edition of the race.

“Like always it was fast descent of the Poggio,” Van Aert said. “Straight at the bottom Jasper went on the attack. It was a really good move and then afterwards it was a bit hard for me to chase because I didn’t want to waste my chances in the sprint.

“Of course a lot of guys were looking at me but I just came up short. In the end, Caleb was a bit faster than me in the sprint from our group. It’s always a difficult final few kilometers but today I gambled wrong.”

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.