Aleksandr Vlasov wins 6-day Tour de Romandie

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VILLARS-SUR-OLLON, Switzerland — Aleksandr Vlasov won the six-day Tour de Romandie after being fastest in the closing time-trial stage in the Swiss mountains.

It was a first career win on the World Tour for the 26-year-old who can continue to compete in international races during Russia’s war on Ukraine because he rides for a team registered in Germany.

“I gave it all today. I am super happy with this result,” said Vlasov, who was third in the Belgian one-day classic Fleche Wallonne in April.

The International Cycling Union suspended Russian teams two months ago but Vlasov rides for the Bora-Hansgrohe team. However, the Russian flag is not displayed next to his name on official race graphics.

Vlasov spoke out against the war on social media two days after the UCI sanctions.

“I, like a lot of Russians, just want peace,” Vlasov wrote in the March 3 post on his Instagram account. “I’m not a political person, and normal people like me weren’t asked if we want a war.”

Vlasov was 31 seconds faster than Simon Geschke on the 15.8-kilometer (9.8-mile) route up to the Villars-sur-Ollon ski station. Gino Mader was five seconds further back in third place.

Vlasov topped the overall standings by 50 seconds from runner-up Mader. Geschke trailed by 55 seconds in third place.

Overnight leader Rohan Dennis – who started the time trial with an 18-second gap over third-place Vlasov – was 22nd in the stage and finished eighth overall.

The time trial was decisive after the queen stage in the mountains did not separate the leaders and ended in a sprint among a bunched group clocking the same time.

The Romandie race is a recognized warm-up for Tour de France contenders and was won in recent years by Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic.

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.