Chris Froome returning to Tour de France but not as team leader

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Four-time winner Chris Froome is returning to the Tour de France as a support rider.

He will try to help Canadian rider Michael Woods win for their Israel Start-Up Nation team.

“Although my ambitions this year won’t be as leader, I hope to add my experience and support to the team as best I can as road captain,” Froome said in a statement on the team website.

The British rider won the Tour in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, but missed the last two races after a career-threatening crash. He broke a femur, elbow and ribs in June 2019 after hitting a wall while training at the Criterium du Dauphine.

“After two years away from the Tour de France, I can’t wait to get back,” Froome said. “It has been an arduous journey since my crash but this has been one of my biggest motivations.”

In the Criterium du Dauphine this month, Froome was 47th, 41 minutes off the pace, and 36 minutes behind leading teammate Ben Hermans.

The Tour starts in Brest on June 26 and ends on July 18.

Froome is a seven-time Grand Tour winner having also won the Spanish Vuelta in 2011 and 2017 and the Giro d’Italia in 2018.

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.