Bouwman gets 1st grand tour stage win, López keeps Giro d’Italia lead

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POTENZA, Italy — Dutch cyclist Koen Bouwman claimed a first grand tour stage victory after winning a tough Stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia, as Juan Pedro Lopez kept hold of the pink jersey.

Bouwman was given a great leadout by Team Jumbo-Visma teammate – and 2017 Giro winner – Tom Dumoulin and sprinted to the line to edge out Bauke Mollema and Davide Formolo by two seconds as the Giro tackled its first mountain range, the Apennines.

It was only a second ever victory for Bouwman, who won a stage in the Criterium du Dauphine in 2017.

“Unbelievable, like my first victory in the Dauphine, I can’t believe it,” he said. “It was such a hard day actually, and in the final we were four guys with two of us, and Tom did a superb job in the last 2k.”

Bouwman had time to look behind and raise his arms over his head as he crossed the finish line of the 196-kilometer (122-mile) route from Diamante to Potenza that included four categorized climbs and almost zero flat sections.

All four had been part of a seven-man breakaway that managed to get away on the second categorized climb, the top classified ascent up Monte Sirino.

“I was feeling quite good the whole day,” Bouwman said. “One time on the climb I had a bit of trouble. It was steeper than I thought but when I started my sprint I felt so much power left. I knew I was getting close to the victory and at 150 meters I looked behind and I had a big gap so, yeah, perfect.”

Most of the overall contenders crossed the line together, nearly three minutes behind Bouwman. Lopez maintained his 38-second advantage over Lennard Kamna after moving into the overall lead. Rein Taaramae was third, 58 seconds behind Lopez.

Stage 8 sees the Giro return to Naples for the first time since 2013 when the city hosted the start of the Italian grand tour. The undulating 153-kilometer (95-mile) stage starts and finishes in Naples, but it leaves the seaside city to take in four laps of a 19-kilometer (12-mile) circuit in the volcanic surrounding area.

The Giro finishes on May 29 in Verona.

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.