Pedersen finally gets stage win, Evenepoel keeps Vuelta lead

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MONTILLA, Spain – This time there was no finish-line disappointment for Mads Pedersen in the Spanish Vuelta.

The Danish rider finally triumphed in the Vuelta, taking Stage 13 after three consecutive second-place finishes earlier in the Grand Tour race.

Pedersen was pipped at the end of the second, third and fourth stages, but this time the 2019 world champion had enough to hold on to his first Vuelta victory. He made a late attack to beat Bryan Coquard and Pascal Ackermann at the line in Montilla.

“It definitely was the dream scenario,” said Pedersen, from team Trek-Segafredo. “We knew this finale was pretty good.

“The boys did really good today and everyone was focused the whole day. I’m just happy that I can finally get the win and give the boys back for all the work they’ve done so far.”

There were no changes at the top of the general classification as Remco Evenepoel and his challengers stayed safely in the peloton. The Belgian from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl has a gap of 2 minutes, 41 seconds over three-time defending champion Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma.

Juan Ayuso, the Spaniard from UAE Team Emirates who was fifth overall, tested positive for the coronavirus before the stage but was allowed to continue racing because he had no symptoms and his viral load was small.

“I was surprised,” the 19-year-old Ayuso said while wearing a mask after the race. “It was determined that the viral load was small and it wasn’t a danger for the rest of the riders, so I could compete without any problems.”

Several riders have had to drop from the race because of positive virus tests, including 2018 winner Simon Yates and Sam Bennett, who beat Pedersen in the second and third stages.

In Stage 14, riders will endure constant climbs at the Sierra de la Pandera in southern Spain.

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.