Evenepoel tames tough final climb, increases Vuelta lead Norway takes gold-medal lead at world road cycling titles Ellen van Dijk defends time trial title at cycling worlds

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NAVA, Spain. Remco Evenepoel abandoned his main rivals on the grueling final climb at Les Preres to increase his overall lead in the Spanish Vuelta.

South African Louis Meinges won stage 9, crossing the line more than a minute ahead of Samuele Battistella, Edoardo Zambanini and Evenepol.

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Evenepool launched his attack about 3 kilometers (1.8 mi) from the summit to overpower his rivals and increase the lead ahead of Monday’s rest day and Tuesday’s time trial in Alicante.

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The Belgian rider from the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team extended the gap from 28 seconds to 72 seconds over Enric Mas in the overall standings. His lead over reigning champion Primoz Roglic increased by more than 50 seconds to almost two minutes.

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Roglic, aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Vuelta title, was only 10th on Sunday, crossing the line 2:26 behind Meintjes.

Evenepoel received the help he needed from his team despite the unexpected absence of Peter Serry, who was forced to withdraw before the stage after testing positive for the coronavirus.

“I’m really impressed with my team,” Evenepoel said. “I’m so happy with the guys, it actually makes me a little nervous seeing how these guys work for me. This climb is all about strength, no traction or anything, because it’s too steep.”

Meinges became the second South African Vuelta stage winner after Robbie Hunter in 1999 and 2001.

“It’s something special,” said Meinges, 30. “I have never been on the podium in a World Tour race, except in the team event, so that was one of my main goals before retiring. In the last few days I have not been fast enough on the mountain finishes. If I can’t (get) a result that way, the best thing to do was to break away and that worked out great.”

Meintjes moved to 16th overall, almost seven minutes behind the lead.

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.

Source: sports.nbcsports.com

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