Evenepoel keeps Vuelta lead despite fall; Carapaz wins stage

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ESTEPONA, Spain – With bruises and cuts showing through a big gash on the side of his shorts, Remco Evenepoel got back on his bicycle and quickly rejoined the peloton.

It was just a scare for the young Belgian rider, who overcame a fall with about 45 kilometers (28 miles) to go in Stage 12 of the Spanish Vuelta to keep his overall lead entering the second half of the final Grand Tour race of the year.

Olympic champion Richard Carapaz won the stage with a dominant run on the final climb to earn his first Vuelta victory. The rider from team Ineos Grenadiers hit the handlebar of his bicycle a couple of times to celebrate his fourth Grand Tour stage win.

The 2019 Giro d’Italia champion launched his attack with about two kilometers (1.2 miles) to go to become the first Ecuadorean to win a Vuelta stage.

“We had the focus now on trying to win a stage, and I’m really happy with that,” the 29-year-old Carapaz said. “I knew I had one move left and I made the most out of it. I’m very happy. I have to enjoy it.”

Wilco Kelderman was second at the end of the stage, nine seconds behind Carapaz, and Marc Soler was third, 24 seconds off the lead.

After changing his bicycle, Evenepoel complained to race officials about some of the motorbikes that were in front of him before he crashed.

“It’s just my leg but it’s fine, I think. My bike is much worse than myself,” the 22-year-old rider from team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl said after the race. “It was a super slippery corner. The motorbikes were slipping as well and slowing down so that’s why I wanted to cut the corner but it was a bit too much.”

Evenepoel showed no signs of being bothered by his right leg injury following the fall, and successfully fended off the breakaway attempts by his closest challenger, three-time defending champion Primoz Roglic.

“I felt good on the climb. I knew it was a climb to just follow and in the last hundreds of meters I just went all out because I felt I still had something left,” Evenepoel said. “It was a good feeling, that’s what’s important. Except for the crash, it was the scenario we wanted. Everybody was strong. Now I need to heal the wounds and try to recover tomorrow as it will be a sprint stage.”

Evenepoel maintained a lead of 2 minutes, 41 seconds over Roglic in the general classification, and was more than three minutes ahead of Enric Mas.

Evenepoel has held the leader’s red jersey since the sixth stage.

Riders will face a mostly flat Stage 13 from Ronda to Montilla in southern 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.