Bennett wins another stage as Affini takes Vuelta a España lead

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BREDA, Netherlands — Sam Bennett went two years without a stage win at a Grand Tour race. Now he has won two in a row.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider prevailed in another sprint finish in Stage 3 of the Spanish Vuelta, with Edoardo Affini taking the leader’s red jersey to keep his Jumbo-Visma team in position to help Primoz Roglic defend his title.

Affini is the third consecutive rider from the Dutch team to grab the overall lead during the Vuelta’s start in the Netherlands.

“It all started with winning the time trial and it’s amazing to be able to share these moments in our team’s country,” Affini said. “I guess it was even more special for our Dutch guys, but it also is for me. To be the leader of a general classification here is really an amazing feeling. It’s crazy to be able to be the leader.”

The top six riders in the general classification are from Jumbo-Visma. Sam Oomen was behind Affini, with Roglic just behind.

It was the final stage before the Vuelta returns to Spain after starting in the Netherlands.

Michael Woods, a two-time stage winner at the Vuelta and one of the title challengers this year, had to abandon the race after a crash. Richard Carapaz also crashed but was able to continue.

Bennett hadn’t won a Grand Tour stage since the 2020 Vuelta before ending his winless streak in Utrecht.

“It’s quite nice to make it happen two days in a row,” said Bennett, who now has 10 Grand Tour stage victories, five of them at the Vuelta.

After a 193-kilometer (120-mile) loop around Breda, Bennett was dominant on the final meters to take the victory ahead of Mads Pedersen and Dan McLay. Pedersen had also come in second.

“It was quite hard because I think a lot of people were fighting for our wheel,” Bennett said. “People started to go up on the inside and squeeze me off. It was quite a hard fight. A big thank you for the boys, they worked all day, looked after me the whole stage.”

Roglic, trying to win an unprecedented fourth straight Vuelta title, finished comfortably in the peloton to stay near the front. Robert Gesink and Mike Teunissen also wore the red jersey for team Jumbo-Visma.

Riders will get their first rest day before the race resumes in the Basque Country in northern Spain.

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.

Ellen van Dijk defends time trial title at cycling worlds

95th UCI Road World Championships 2022 - Women Individual Time Trial
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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Ellen van Dijk defended her title and claimed a third women’s time trial gold medal at the opening event of the world road cycling championships on Sunday.

Taking advantage of a technical course the Dutch star maintained a perfectly paced cadence to beat Australia’s Grace Brown by 12.79 seconds to defend the time trial gold she won last year. Swiss rival Marlen Reusser took bronze.

Local favorite Brown was one of the early staters and set a blistering time around the 34.2 kilometer (21.3 miles) course at the scenic coastal town center of Wollongong, south of Sydney.

No other in the 45-strong field could get close to Brown’s time of 44 minutes 41.33 seconds until the final pair of van Dijk and Reusser, who claimed silver at last year’s world championships in Belgium, both clocked faster at the first time check.

Reusser then faded to finish more than 41 seconds off Brown’s time, but van Dijk powered on to claim her third gold medal in a time of 44:28.60.

Olympic time trial champion and two-time world champion Annemiek van Vleuten finished seventh, more than 90 seconds behind compatriot van Dijk.

Later Sunday, Vuelta a Espana winner Remco Evenepoel from Belgium, Italian two-time defending world champion Filippo Ganna and two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar from Slovenia headline the men’s event.

Other major races are the mixed relay time trial on Wednesday and the women’s road race next Saturday before the men’s race on the closing day Sunday, with local star and Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley racing the clock to recover from COVID-19 to take his place in the race.