Roglic on brink of 3rd straight Spanish Vuelta title

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MOS, Spain — Primoz Roglic has only the decisive stage’s time trial left to win his third consecutive Spanish Vuelta title after finishing the rugged 20th stage runner-up to Clement Champoussin on Saturday.

Roglic leads Enric Mas by 2 1/2 minutes before Sunday’s time trial over 34 kilometers (21 miles) from Padron to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela, destination of the St. James Way pilgrimage trail.

“I’m looking forward to the time trial tomorrow,” Roglic said. “We’ve been waiting for this so finally here we are.”

Roglic is favored to hold onto his commanding lead, despite his bad memories from the 2020 Tour de France, where he lost the yellow jersey on a decisive time trial to fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.

Roglic won the time trial gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and the Vuelta’s first time trial on its opening stage. Mas, however, is a pure climber who does his damage in the mountain.

Champoussin took his first professional win by claiming the 202-kilometer (125-mile) ride from Sanxenxo to Mos in 5 hours, 20-plus minutes. The French rider for AG2R blew past Roglic and three other riders who were caught off guard with less than two kilometers left on the final ascent.

Champoussin was part of an early breakaway group that was caught and then passed by the top riders. But he was able to stay in contact and took advantage when he saw his chance.

“I hung on and a little over a mile from the finish I was lucky they looked at each other,” Champoussin said. “Since I’m not dangerous, I thought to myself that I had to try to pass a little faster. The last kilometer wasn’t too hard and I was able to stay ahead until the end.”

Ineos set a hard pace through the middle of the route over green hills on the northwest coast with views of the Atlantic below. An attack by Adam Yates on the category-one Alto de Mougas shattered what was left of the peloton, leaving Roglic with a Jumbo-Visma teammate.

But Roglic needed no help to resist the attacks by Yates and Mas over the final stretch.

“I’m super happy with the place I finished in today with the way it went. I couldn’t wish for more,” Roglic said. “I was mainly looking at Yates and Enric (Mas) but at the end there were a lot more guys. I kept everything more or less under control.”

Mas’ Movistar teammate, Miguel Angel Lopez, however, cracked during the Yates attack and saw his hold on third place overall crumble. After struggling for a long period while the difference grew, the Colombian got off his bike and withdrew from the race.

Jack Haig moved into third overall at 4:48 behind Roglic. Yates was fourth at 5:48. Egan Bernal was sixth, but more than 11 minutes back.

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.