Tour de France to hold women’s cycling race in July 2022

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PARIS — A women’s version of the Tour de France will be held in 2022 with a start on Paris’ iconic Champs-Elysees boulevard after the conclusion of the men’s race, organizers announced Thursday.

The “Tour de France Femmes” aims to become a permanent fixture on the women’s world tour cycling calendar after various failed attempts in the past.

The route and length of the race were not immediately disclosed but a video accompanying the launch said riders will “tackle the most challenging route” and “defy the most iconic climbs.”

It is scheduled to start on July 24, 2022.

“This is a huge moment for professional women’s cycling,” Anna van der Breggen, a rider for UCI Women’s WorldTeam SD Worx, said in a statement.

“The Tour de France is the most famous race in cycling,” she continued, “and it’s long been a dream for many of us to compete in a women’s Tour de France. I’m hopeful that the race will help us grow our sport even more by providing us with a media platform to take the excitement of women’s cycling to new audiences.”

Tour de France organizer Christian Prudhomme earlier this year had revealed the likelihood of the race for 2022.

A women’s Tour stage race took place from 1984 to 1989, running parallel with the men’s race before later being shortened. Various other versions have been tried but they usually were underfunded.

Online fitness platform Zwift has signed on in a four-year sponsorship. Tour de France owner Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) and Zwift worked together last year to hold a virtual edition of the race.

“I really believe the women’s peloton puts on some of the most exciting bike racing to watch and it deserves a much bigger platform to exhibit these talents and skills,” Zwift chief executive Eric Min said.

Female cyclists have spent years calling for a women’s version of the race. They’ve put together petitions, and some even rode every stage of the men’s race just to raise awareness.

ASO currently organizes La Course, an elite women’s race – typically one day – held in Paris coinciding with the Tour.

The Tour de France begins June 26 in Brest.

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.