Roglic keeps Vuelta lead on last mountain test, López wins

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ALTU D’EL GAMONITEIRU, Spain — Primoz Roglic moved closer to clinching his third consecutive Spanish Vuelta title after increasing his lead on the final test in the high mountains, while Miguel Angel Lopez won the demanding 18th stage.

Lopez held off a late attack by Roglic to claim the 162-kilometer (100-mile) route that crested three mountain passes before a finish atop the beyond-category Altu d’El Gamoniteiru.

It is the first time the Spanish Grand Tour has included the grueling ascent with an average gradient of nearly 10% over 14.6 kilometers (9 miles). Lopez broke away from the group of the hardiest riders, including Roglic, with around 5 kilometers (3 miles) to go and overtook David de la Cruz in the fog that obscured the vision of the valleys below.

Michael Storer was eyeing a third win at this Vuelta when he started the final ascent with a two-minute advantage. But he soon saw his advantage crumble as the top riders picked up the pace on the grueling upward haul.

Lopez gave Movistar its first win at this year’s race, finishing in 4 hours, 41 minutes, 21 seconds. Roglic dropped Lopez’s teammate Enric Mas and Egan Bernal of Ineos over the final meters to finish second, 14 seconds behind Lopez.

Roglic, the Jumbo-Visma leader, added a few seconds to his lead in the general classification. Mas is his nearest chaser at 2:20 minutes behind with three stages to go.

“It’s nice (to be out of the mountains). We are all feeling the efforts from the last two days and the weeks before,” Roglic said. “I still think there are some super hard stages to come. Hopefully we can do our best and finish it off.”

Stage 19 on Friday will take riders over 191 kilometers (118 miles) from Tapia to Monforte de Lemos. After another hilly ride on Saturday, the race concludes with an individual time trial in Santiago de Compostela on Sunday.

Roglic won the race’s time trial on its opening stage, so Mas and Lopez will have likely to try to finally break Roglic in the hills if they hope to win.

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.