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Defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic withdraws after crash Ellen van Dijk defends time trial title at cycling worlds Evenepoel clinches Vuelta title to become Grand Tour winner

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MADRID. Primož Roglic’s quest to win an unprecedented fourth straight Spanish Vuelta title ended when he withdrew from the race following a crash the previous day.

The Slovenian cyclist did not start on stage 17, which was won by Colombian Rigoberto Uran.

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“Thank you for all the great moments at this Vuelta,” Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team tweeted. “You had ambitious plans for the last days, but, unfortunately, this was not destined to come true.”

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Roglic fell heavily 75 meters (80 yd) from the finish line, aiming for a Stage 16 win, crossing the line with bruises and bleeding from his right shoulder, arm and leg.

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The injuries did not appear to be serious, but the team and driver decided it was best not to continue as the race entered the tough final stages.

Roglic has been closing the gap on overall leader Remko Evenepul, who now has a clear path to victory in his first Grand Tour race.

The 22-year-old Belgian from the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team had a lead of 1 minute 26 seconds over Roglic. He finished safely and was over two minutes ahead of Movistar’s Spanish driver Enric Mas, who is now his closest rival.

The three-week race will end after round 21 in Madrid. Riders will face a mountainous stage with three major climbs on their way to another unprecedented finish at the summit of Alto de Piornal.

Roglic, 32, tried to join Spanish rider Roberto Heraz as the only cyclist to win four Vuelta titles. Eras won the race in 2000 and 2003-05. Toni Rominger and Alberto Contador are the only other drivers with three Vuelta titles.

The Spanish Vuelta remains the only Grand Tour stage won by Roglic, whose preparations were thwarted this year by a Tour de France accident. The team did not know if he was going to participate until a couple of days before the start.

Another title contender who had to retire was Simon Yates, who last week was among the many riders who pulled out after testing positive for the coronavirus.

WOLLONGONG, Australia. Ellen van Dijk defended her title and took her third gold medal in the women’s time trial at the opening of the Road Cycling World Championships on Sunday.

Taking advantage of the technical track, the Dutch star maintained a perfect pace to pass Australia’s Grace Brown by 12.79 seconds to defend gold in the time trial she won last year. Bronze went to Swiss Marlene Reusser.

Local favorite Brown was an early starter and had a brilliant time on the 34.2 km (21.3 miles) circuit in the picturesque waterfront city center of Wollongong, south of Sydney.

No one on the 45-man team could come close to Brown’s time of 44m41.33s until the last pairing of van Dijk and Reusser, who took silver at last year’s World Championships in Belgium, showed more results on the first check.

Reusser then beat Brown’s time by over 41 seconds, but van Dijk earned her third gold medal with 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 on Sunday, Vuelta a España winner Remco Evenepoel of Belgium, two-time world champion Filippo Ganna of Italy and two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia will lead the men’s event.

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

Remco Evenepoel put the hard times behind him with the biggest win of his career.

Two years ago, he flew off a bridge and had a terrible accident that left him hospitalized for several days. A year ago, the great cyclist questioned his loyalty to his teammates.

All of that was forgotten when 22-year-old Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s Evenepoel won the Spanish Vuelta with his first Grand Tour victory.

“This is a story for the team, for my country, for myself,” Evenepul said. “I think we can really be proud of what we’ve done in the past three weeks.”

It was a landmark victory for Evenepol, who became the first Belgian to win a major three-week tournament since Johan de Muynck won the Giro d’Italia in 1978. 114 drivers at the Vuelta in 1993.

Evenepoel crossed the line for the last time in the leader’s red jersey in a celebratory final round through the streets of the Spanish capital, then received hugs and kisses from his partner before hoisting his bike over his head in front of his teammates.

“Now it’s really realized, it’s really official,” he said. “Emotions were high enough yesterday. We were actually there, but we still needed to finish the race safe and sound. We enjoyed as much as we could, and now we can really enjoy.”

Colombian Juan Sebastian Molano of Team Emirates won the final stage 21 in Madrid ahead of Mads Pedersen and Pascal Ackermann.

Evenepool, who has worn the red jersey since taking the lead on stage 6 and overcoming a serious crash on stage 12, secured the victory by pinning Enric Mas and the rest of his rivals in the final competitive stage.

Evenepoel finished 2 minutes and 2 seconds ahead of Mas from the Movistar team. Another Spaniard was third, with Juan Ayuso finishing nearly five minutes ahead of UAE Team Emirates.

Evenepoel didn’t have to worry about three-time reigning champion Primoz Roglic, who was forced to retire due to injuries sustained in a crash near the end of stage 16. of the many riders who had to withdraw during the race due to positive coronavirus tests.

For Evenepoel, it was about using his pedals to answer his doubters and critics, including Eddy Merckx, the Belgian great who said last year that the youngster was unwilling to ride for his team.

Also last year, Evenepoel was thrown into the hurdles on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, and the year before, he survived a nasty crash in which he fell several meters (yards) off a bridge and was hospitalized with a fracture. pelvis

This year’s Vuelta was an emotional farewell for veteran Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, 2009 champion, and Italian driver Vincenzo Nibali, 2010 Vuelta winner. Both are about to retire and have been greeted by other cyclists with a guard of honor.


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