Filippo Ganna storms to opening Giro d’Italia victory in time trial

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TURIN, Italy — Italian cyclist Filippo Ganna lived up to his billing as the favorite by storming to victory in the opening stage time trial of the Giro d’Italia, beating his closest rival by 10 seconds.

Ganna, who is the world time trial champion, will wear the first maglia rosa as the race leader.

He also wore the first maglia rosa of last year’s Giro rescheduled to October.

There were questions about Ganna’s form coming into the Giro after he lost his past two time trials, but the Ineos Grenadiers rider obliterated his rivals on the fast, 8.6-kilometer (5.3-mile) course through the streets of Turin, finishing in 8 minutes, 47 seconds.

“Finally, I’m a time trial winner again. It’s been a long time,” Ganna said. “I’m very happy.

“I didn’t feel I was ready for this race. My morale wasn’t great after the Tour de Romandie. Now it’s back up!”

Ganna and compatriot Edoardo Affini were the only cyclists to finish under nine minutes. Tobias Foss was third fastest, 13 seconds slower than Ganna.

There were fans lining the streets, wearing masks and respecting social distancing rules, and Ganna revealed they helped him to win after problems with his team radio.

“I started with a small radio but I didn’t hear anything, so I told myself to go full gas and listen to the people along the road,” Ganna said.

“If they cheered for me, then I knew I was going fast. That’s how I got this amazing victory.”

Joao Almeida, who led last year’s Giro for 15 days, was an impressive fourth, with a time of 9:04. He was two seconds faster than Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammate Remco Evenepoel, who was making his return to racing after a nine-month absence.

Evenepoel hasn’t raced since August after a crash in which he hit a bridge wall and went into a ravine, leaving him with a fractured pelvis and a damaged right lung.

Most of the other overall favorites were all around 40 seconds slower than Ganna, including Ineos teammate Egan Bernal, two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali, and last year’s runner-up, Jai Hindley.

The second stage is a mainly flat, 179-kilometer (111-mile) route from Stupinigi to Novara.

The Giro finishes on May 30 in Milan with another individual time trial.

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.