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Evenepoel keeps Vuelta lead despite fall; Carapaz wins stage Ellen van Dijk defends time trial title at cycling worlds Evenepoel clinches Vuelta title to become Grand Tour winner

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ESTEPONA, Spain. Remco Evenepoel, with bruises and cuts showing through a large gash on the side of his shorts, got back on his bike and quickly joined the peloton.

It was just fear for the young Belgian rider, who fought the fall with about 45 kilometers (28 miles) to go on stage 12 of the Spanish Vuelta to maintain his lead in the second half of the year’s Grand Tour final race. .

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Olympic champion Richard Carapaz won the stage by dominating the final climb to earn his first win at the Vuelta. A rider from the Ineos Grenadiers team hit the handlebars of his bike a couple of times to celebrate his fourth Grand Tour victory.

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

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“Now we are focused on trying to win the stage and I am very happy with that,” said the 29-year-old Karapaz. “I knew I had one move left and I made the most of it. I’m very happy. I should enjoy it.”

Vilko Kelderman was second at the end of the stage, nine seconds behind Carapaz, and Marc Soler was third, 24 seconds behind the leader.

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

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

Evenepul showed no signs of distress due to an injury to his right leg after the fall and successfully fended off breakaway attempts from his closest rival, three-time defending champion Primož Roglic.

“I felt good on the rise. I knew it was a climb that you just had to follow, and in the last hundred meters I just gave it my all, because I felt that I still had something left, ”Evenepul said. “It was a good feeling, that’s what’s important. With the exception of the accident, this was exactly the scenario we wanted. Everyone was strong. Now I need to heal my wounds and try to recover tomorrow as it will be a sprint stage.”

Evenepool retained a 2:41 lead over Roglic overall and over three minutes ahead of Enric Mas.

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

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

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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