Emotional win for Herrada as Evenepoel keeps Vuelta lead

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CISTIERNA, Spain – Jesus Herrada placed his head on his bicycle’s handlebar and cried profusely after winning Stage 7 at the Spanish Vuelta.

Herrada was hugged by a team member and sat by his bike and put both of his hands in front of his face.

He was still wiping away tears when other riders arrived to congratulate him.

It took the 32-year-old Spaniard a few minutes to fully compose himself after the victory in the Vuelta’s seventh stage.

Remco Evenepoel stayed safely in the peloton to hold on to the overall lead ahead of Rudy Molard, Enric Mas and three-time defending champion Primoz Roglic.

Herrada prevailed in the breakaway group to win his second ever stage in the Vuelta, and first in three years. The Cofidis rider narrowly edged Samuele Battistella and Fred Wright after a 190-kilometer (118-mile) mid-mountain stage in northern Spain.

“It’s crazy,” Herrada said. “I had to be patient in the last kilometer, following wheels. I knew there were fast men in the group but I trusted my sprint. We’ll savor this win.”

It was the second stage win for a Spaniard in three days after the nation went two years without a win at a Grand Tour race. Marc Soler won the fifth stage on Wednesday to end Spain’s winless streak.

The peloton was closing in on the five breakaway riders who also included Jimmy Janssens and Harrison Sweeny, but not soon enough.

Evenepoel was among those crossing the line 29 seconds later to keep his overall 21-second lead over Molard and 28-second lead over Mas. Roglic stayed fourth in the general classification, about a minute behind.

“It’s a pity for the teams working in the bunch not to catch the breakaway, but there was a really strong group in the front,” said Evenepoel, of team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl. “I have a nice advantage now, so I would also be happy if I could just keep this time gap over the rest, but of course, if there’s an opportunity, I will not let it go. It’s a three-week race, and arriving to the time trial with an advantage will be better than being behind.”

Evenepoel is only the second Belgian rider to retain the leader’s red jersey for more than a day in the Vuelta in the last 40 years, after Philippe Gilbert did it in 2010.

Riders will face a difficult mountain stage in Asturias on Saturday.

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.