BILBAO, Spain. Seeing the finish line, Marc Soler looked over his shoulder and realized that his rivals would not catch up with him.
He put his hand to his helmet in obvious disbelief and then began to celebrate a great victory for himself and his country.
Soler pulled out on the final climb to win the fifth stage of the Vuelta a España on Wednesday and give Spain their first Grand Tour stage win in two years. No Spanish rider has won since Ion Izaguirre won stage six of the 2020 Vuelta.
“In the end, I managed to do it and I am very happy,” said Soler of UAE Team Emirates. “It’s not easy. Many teams have a lot of Spanish drivers, but we often have to work. It’s not easy, but we can win too.”
Soler’s other victory at the Vuelta came in the second stage in 2020.
Frenchman Rudy Molar was among the group of riders who crossed the line four seconds behind Soler and took the red jersey of the overall leader from three-time reigning champion Primoz Roglic, who won the stage on Tuesday.
“I was in suspense until the very end,” said Molar, a Frenchman from the Groupama-FDJ team. “It means a lot to me. Last year I left the race due to a serious accident. I did not know if I could return to my best level. And a year later I am leading the Grand Tour. This winter was very difficult for me, I could exercise for a few weeks, you always have to believe.”
Molard leads the overall standings, two seconds ahead of Fred Wright, a British rider from the Bahrain Victorious team. Germany’s Nikias Arndt of Team DSM was over a minute behind in third place.
Roglic, who was trying to become the first driver to win four Vuelta titles in a row, dropped to fifth, more than four minutes behind the lead. Its Jumbo-Visma riders wore the red jersey for each of the first four stages.
The three-week race, which began with three stages in the Netherlands, will end in Madrid.
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.