Sonny Colbrelli wins Paris-Roubaix in debut

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ROUBAIX, France — Italian rider Sonny Colbrelli won a rainy and mud-soaked Paris-Roubaix in his debut.

The 31-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider crossed the finish line ahead of Florian Vermeersch of Belgium (Lotto Soudal) and Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).

He caught them in a three-way sprint at the Roubaix velodrome and all the riders were caked in dirt from head to toe.

Colbrelli collapsed to the ground and was in tears after his victory.

“Unbelievable, my first Parigi (Paris)-Roubaix and I win. I’m very happy,” Colbrelli said. “Today is a legendary Roubaix with the rain and the weather.”

The race had been scheduled for April 11 but was postponed until October because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is one of cycling’s five high-profile classics, along with the Tour of Flanders, Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro di Lombardia.

But it is known as the Queen of the Classics because it is the most prestigious of the five. The grueling and dangerous 258-kilometer trek (160-mile) is also known as the “Hell of the North,” because of its treacherous profile including more than 50 kilometers (31 miles) of cobblestones spread out over 29 sectors.

Three-time world road race champion Peter Sagan – who won the race in 2018 – and Mads Pedersen were among the riders to crash in particularly bad conditions following heavy rainfall for several days in the Paris region.

“I was at the limit in the final,” Colbrelli said. “It was super difficult because I had to pay attention for the crashes from the first sectors and then there’s always the stress to be in position in the cobbles.”

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.