Jakobsen wins Vuelta’s 16th stage, Eiking keeps overall lead

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SANTA CRUZ DE BEZANA, Spain — Fabio Jakobsen celebrated his 25th birthday with his third stage win at this year’s Spanish Vuelta, with Odd Christian Eiking holding on to the overall lead.

Jakobsen prevailed along with his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammates through the twisty finale of the 180-kilometer (111.8-mile) 16th stage that took riders from Laredo to Santa Cruz de Bezana in northern Spain.

Jakobsen, who had also won the fourth and eighth stages, finished the sprint ahead of Jordi Meeus and Matteo Trentin.

“A birthday is always a good day, but I’m over the moon with this win,” Jakobsen said. “I was dropped on the climb. The guys waited for me, they brought me back and I win the race. It’s all thanks to them. The only thing I had to do was a short fast sprint, and they did everything else today.”

The Dutch rider has been enjoying his greatest results since being involved in a horrific crash that left him fighting for his life in an induced coma more than a year ago.

There was no change at the top of the general classification, with Eiking comfortably staying ahead of Guillaume Martin and two-time defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic.

“Tactically speaking, it was maybe my easiest day in the red jersey but in another way it was hard to restart after the rest day,” Eiking said. “I felt OK but sleepy all day. In the end, it wasn’t difficult to defend the red jersey today.”

The Norwegian rider said the Lagos de Covadonga will be “very decisive” on Wednesday.

“It will be a really hard racing from the start,” Eiking said. “It will be a lot of fun to race up there.”

The 185-kilometer (115-mile) 17th stage will see riders complete two loops around a circuit that includes an unprecedented climb at Collada Llomena before they take on the difficult Lagos de Covadonga summit.

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.