Campenaerts gets 1st Grand Tour stage win, Bernal keeps Giro d’Italia lead

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GORIZIA, Italy — Belgian rider Victor Campenaerts won the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia for his first victory in a Grand Tour, and Egan Bernal kept the leader’s pink jersey after a day that was marked by a large crash at the beginning of the route.

Campenaerts, who rides for Team Qhubeka Assos, edged out Oscar Riesebeek at the end of the 147-kilometer (91-mile) route from Grado to Gorizia that crossed into Slovenia and covered the fourth-category climb to Gornje Cerovo three times.

“As we don’t have climbers for the next few stages in the mountains, we decided to go all in today,” Campenaerts said. “Now we have three victories in the Giro, which is simply fantastic … We’re making an important statement as we are racing for the greater purpose of changing lives with bicycles: to provide bicycles in Africa for better education and better lives.”

The duo had attacked from a breakaway approaching the final climb, with the rain falling heavily.

Nikias Arndt won a sprint for third, seven seconds behind Campenaerts.

“I’ve missed an opportunity, perhaps the opportunity of a lifetime,” Riesebeek said. “I just made a mistake, I don’t know if I made a mistake or . of course, he was really strong. It’s hard after 15 days to find something good about it. At the minute I am very disappointed.”

Bernal crossed the line in the peloton, more than 17 minutes behind. The 2019 Tour de France champion maintained his lead of 1 minute, 33 seconds over Simon Yates and is 1:51 ahead of third-place Damiano Caruso.

The stage was halted for about half an hour shortly after the start following a mass crash. Several riders had to get medical attention at the side of the road and there were numerous bicycle changes.

Emanuel Buchmann, who had hopes of a podium finish, was one of the riders forced to retire from the race because of his injuries. The German cyclist was sixth overall, 2:36 behind Bernal.

Natnael Berhane and Jos Van Emden also had to abandon. Ruben Guerreiro rode on for a while before also quitting.

The16th stage is the Giro’s toughest leg. The so-called queen stage includes nearly 6,000 meters of climbing over the Passo Fedaia, the Passo Pordoi and the Passo Giau in the Dolomites before the descent to the finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

At 2,239 meters, the Passo Pordoi is also the race’s highest point.

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

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.