Hindley wins Giro d’Italia Stage 9, López stays in pink

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BLOCKHAUS, Italy — Australian cyclist Jai Hindley won Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia atop the fearsome Blockhaus but Juan Pedro Lopez managed to keep hold of the leader’s pink jersey after the race’s toughest leg.

Hindley, who rides for Bora-Hansgrohe, edged out Romain Bardet and overall favorite Richard Carapaz in a sprint to the line at the end of an arduous day of climbing.

Mikel Landa and Joao Almeida also finished with the same time.

“I was just trying to survive as best I could, actually,” said Hindley, who was runner-up in the Giro in 2020. “I knew it was flattening out in the last k’s (kilometers) and there was a right hander before the finish with around 200 to go. I wanted to take the corner first and then just gave it everything to the line, and yeah here we are.

“It’s pretty incredible. It wasn’t the easiest year I had last year. I worked so hard to get back to the level to compete at the Giro and I’m at a loss for words honestly. It’s pretty amazing.”

Lopez surprisingly kept hold of the maglia rosa as the Spaniard finished the 191-kilometer (119-mile) route from Isernia 1 minute, 46 seconds behind Hindley on a day in which several favorites lost time on the iconic final climb that had double-digit gradients along a series of hairpin bends leading to the line.

“This is wonderful for me, I don’t believe this moment,” the Trek-Segafredo rider said. “We need to enjoy every moment.”

Lopez is 12 seconds ahead of Almeida now and 14 ahead of Bardet, with Carapaz just a second further back.

As well as the Blockhaus, the route also included the top-category climb to Passo Lanciano and two other categorized ascents on a day with 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) of climbing.

A nine-man breakaway led the stage for most of the day but they were caught and the peloton started the final climb to Blockhaus together.

Simon Yates was one of the favorites dropped early on and the British rider crossed the line 11 minutes behind Hindley with his right knee heavily strapped. He had sustained the injury on the fourth stage climb up Etna.

“Now that I’ve lost the race, it’s causing me a lot of problems. But that was not my only problem today, I really struggled in the heat again,” Yates said. “That’s how it goes. I gave my all and that’s it.

“I was hopeful of still being able to try and do something but I’ve been in a lot of pain since Etna. I’ve been trying to manage it as best as possible. Like I said, it was not my only problem today.”

Carapaz tried to attack several times in the final 5 kilometers but was unable to shake off his rivals for the stage win.

There was a worrying moment earlier in the day when Natnael Tesfatsion, who was leading the stage, crashed on the descent from Passo Lanciano. Tesfatsion misjudged a corner and somersaulted over his handlebars into the bushes.

However, the Eritrean swiftly received treatment from race doctors and was eventually able to continue.

The race has its second rest day before a 196-kilometer (122-mile) stage from Pescara to Jesi that is mainly flat in the first half along the Adriatic coast before three fourth-category climbs later in the day.

Whether Yates can fight back or even decides to continue remains to be seen.

The BikeExchange-Jayco rider was more than 11 minutes behind Lopez in the overall standings.

“I’ll see what happens now, we have the rest day,” Yates said.

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.