ALMERIA, Spain – Remco Evenepoel held a strong overall lead in the Vuelta a España as Caden Groves took the final sprint victory and won his first Grand Tour after more riders had to withdraw due to positive test results for coronavirus.
Simon Yates, Groves’ BikeExchange-Jayco teammate, was among those forced out of the race due to the coronavirus. The 2018 Vuelta champion finished fifth in the general classification. Pavel Sivakov, who was ninth, also had to withdraw.
“This morning when it was revealed that Simon tested positive for COVID, all the boys were very disappointed and this is the best way to bounce back after such bad news,” Groves, 23, said. “I really need to celebrate, but I also want him to be here because he’s part of this team.”
The Australian crossed the line ahead of Danny van Poppel and Tim Merlier to take the stage 11 victory.
“I have to thank all the guys, we drove all day and prepared in advance for this victory,” said Groves. “With a crosswind in the last four kilometers, the guys did a great job getting me fresh in the lead. This is my first Grand Tour victory and it certainly deserves praise.”
Evenepul finished the peloton alongside three-time defending champion Primoz Roglic, who was 2 minutes 41 seconds from the lead with 10 laps to go. Enric Mas was over three minutes behind Evenepool in third place.
Evenepoel extended their lead thanks to a strong time trial on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Belgian from Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl has been holding the leader’s red jersey since stage six.
On Wednesday, however, Evenepool lost an important teammate as world champion Julian Alaphilippe had to withdraw from the race following a crash. Alaphilippe had to be taken to an ambulance with a dislocated right shoulder. The team said there was no fracture.
“It’s definitely not as beautiful a day as we hoped,” Evenepoel said. “This is definitely a big loss for our team, especially on the quiet stage. It’s a pity. I hope he’s doing well and doesn’t suffer too much. Julian was really good at many stages. It’s a pity that we lost the world champion because he was in very good shape. I also have confidence in my other teammates and I’m sure they will be very good in the next stages.”
Racers on stage 12 will face a long flat stage with a final climb in Estepona.
WOLLONGONG, Australia. Søren Warenskiöld repeated the success of the Norwegians who won the gold medal at the Road Cycling World Championships the day after Tobias Voss finished first in the elite men’s time trial.
Warenskiöld won the men’s under-23 time trial on the second day of the championship with a dominant result. He showed 34 minutes 13.40 seconds over a distance of 28.8 km, ahead of the Belgian Alec Segart by 16.34 seconds.
British rider Leo Hayter, younger brother of elite rider Ethan Hayter, was 24.16 seconds behind the racer’s pace to take the bronze medal.
Foss beat the strong field to win the elite time trial, the biggest win of his career.
Norway has two gold medals and Dutch Ellen van Dijk beat Australia’s Grace Brown to win the Women’s Elite Time Trial.
The mixed relay is scheduled for Wednesday. The championship ends at the weekend with women’s road races on Saturday and men’s road races on Sunday.
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 won silver at last year’s World Championships in Belgium, had better 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 headline 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.