Arnaud Demare enjoyed another successful day at the Giro d'Italia as he registered his second stage victory of this year's race.

Demare pipped Caleb Ewan in a thrilling sprint finish to stage six on Thursday, just nudging the tip of his wheel ahead of the Lotto Soudal rider as they crossed the finish line in Scalea.

At the end of a relatively flat route, Mark Cavendish made a late push, but was unable to latch onto the front two at the end.

"It was a really calm stage and everybody had fresh legs. Yesterday it was a collective job and today we had everyone as well," said Groupama-FDJ rider Demare.

"At each roundabout we were perfectly placed. Around 500m, Jacopo [Guarnieri] did a great job and I got myself into the wheels. The sprint lasted about 100m and I managed to get there.

"I thought maybe it was me that was second until we saw the photo."

It was a frustrating day for Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), meanwhile.

The Colombian had expressed frustration with his bike after stage five, saying "what a s*** bike", and this time he collided with Alberto Dainese and Cees Bol on the home stretch.

Gaviria was deemed to be at fault and relegated, so he has dropped from third to fifth in the points classification, losing 13 points.

There was little change in the general classification standings, with Juan Pedro Lopez keeping hold of the maglia rosa, though his lead was cut by a second.

DEMARE MAKING FRANCE PROUD

That was Demare's seventh stage win at the Giro d'Italia, meaning he has now won more stages in the Grand Tour event than any other French rider.

According to the Giro's official data, across the 13-second sprint, Demare averaged a remarkable 68.4 km/h speed, while maxing out at 1,410 watts of power.

STAGE RESULT  

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 5:02:33
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) same time  
3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) same time 
4. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS   

General Classification  

1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 23:23:36
2. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:38
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:58

Points Classification

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 147
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 94
3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) 78

King of the Mountains  

1. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 43
2. Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa Cycling Team) 18  
3. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 18

Arnaud Demare clinched victory in a sprint finish to stage five of the Giro d'Italia as Vincenzo Nibali confirmed 2022 will be his final year as a professional rider.

In his hometown of Messina, following a 174-kilometre route from Catania, Nibali, who has won the Giro twice, felt it was fitting to announce the news.

Out of general classification contention after losing over two minutes on the leading pack in stage four, Nibali is now focused on enjoying what will be his final Giro, and possibly his last appearance at a Grand Tour.

"I was waiting for this stage for a while, for years, it's where I started to ride and train, so I wanted to confirm that this is my last Giro and my last season," the 37-year-old told RAI Sport's Processo all Tappa.

Tearfully, he added: "It's time to call it a day. I've done so much for so long, but it's the right time. I can't forget that I left home when I was 15 years old. I think I gave a lot to cycling and now it's time to give time back to all the people who sacrificed things for me."

At the front of the race, Groupama-FDJ's Demare recovered from being dropped on the day's main climb to claim his first stage win of the season, and his sixth at a Giro.

There was no challenge from Mark Cavendish, who could not bounce back after losing time on the climb.

GC leader Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo), meanwhile, ensured he kept hold of the maglia rossa by crossing in the peloton. The Spaniard maintained his 39-second lead over second-placed Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe).

NIBALI HEADS OUT IN HISTORIC CLUB

As well as winning in his homeland in 2013 and 2016, Nibali triumphed in the Tour de France in 2014 and the Vuelta a Espana in 2010, and is one of only seven riders to have won all three Grand Tours.

Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi Alberto Contador and Chris Froome are the other riders in that exclusive club.

 

STAGE RESULT  

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 4:03:56  
2. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) same time  
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech) same time 
4. Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) same time
5. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS  

General Classification  

1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 18:21:03  
2. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:39
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:58

Points Classification

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 94
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 72
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) 67

King of the Mountains  

1. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 41
2. Mirco Maestri (EOLO-Kometa Cycling Team) 18  
3. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 18

Lennard Kaemna put in a clever ride to win the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia at Mount Etna on Monday.

The German took the victory after a sprint finish with Juan Pedro Lopez, though there was sufficient consolation for the Spaniard as he now holds the maglia rosa.

It was Kaemna's first stage win in the Giro, and his second Grand Tour victory following the Villard-de-Lans stage at the 2020 Tour de France.

Lopez at 24 years of age is the youngest Spanish rider in the maglia rosa ever, taking the record from Alberto Contador (2008).

After the win, Kaemna revealed his belief of a "tacit agreement" for him to take the stage victory and Lopez to claim the maglia rosa, though that did not appear to be the case as Lopez turned the final corner without allowing much space.

"It was a very tough lap, especially the final climb," Kaemna said. "I thought it was gone when Lopez was signaled at 30. When I took him back maybe there was a tacit agreement, stop with me and maglia rosa with him.

"I'm happy to have won a stage, it takes a lot of pressure off the team too."

A 14-man breakaway had established a lead of over seven minutes as the climb to Mount Etna began, with Alpecin Fenix's Stefano Oldani eventually making a move out in front with six other riders.

However, Lopez took control after that, before Kaemna joined him for the last 2.5km as the duo set up an exciting finish, which the latter took on the final corner.

MOTORBIKE CRASH ALMOST RUINS RACE

The day did not get off to the best start for many riders as a motorbike caused a crash in the early phases of stage four.

The motorbike was part of the race convoy and had moved close to a tightly-packed peloton, before it clipped something at the side of the road and went down, causing several riders to fall with it, while many others were forced to stop.

Roger Kluge of Lotto Soudal seemed to hit the vehicle directly as he was riding behind it, but the German was able to get up and continue his race.

 

STAGE RESULT  

1. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:32:11  
2. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) same time  
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:34  
4. Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto Soudal) +2:12
5. Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) +2:12 

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS  

General Classification  

1. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 14:17:07  
2. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:39
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:58

Points Classification   

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 62  
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 55  
3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 53  

King of the Mountains  

1. Lennard Kaemna (Bora-Hansgrohe) 40 
2. Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) 18  
3. Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 12 

Mark Cavendish powered across the line to claim his 16th Giro d'Italia stage victory on the final day in Hungary on Sunday. 

Contesting the Giro for the first time since winning the points classification in 2013, Cavendish was always in control after a brilliant lead out from Michael Morkov and sprinted to victory at the end of a 201-kilometre flat ride from Kaposvar to Balatonfured. 

The Briton now has 11 more Giro stage wins than anyone else in the field this year – Fernando Gaviria, Arnaud Demare and Caleb Ewan all have five. 

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team made their move at the right moment and were rewarded with their first victory in the Grand Tour since Maximilian Schachmann won stage 18 in 2018. 

"I'm very happy. It was really nice. I've got an incredible final group here and they delivered today," Cavendish said after tasting victory on stage three. 

"In the end I had to go long, with 300 [metres] to go. I'm happy I could hang on that long for the win." 

Cavendish held off the challenges of Demare and Gaviria, who finished second and third respectively. 

Mathieu van der Poel retained the maglia rosa and an 11-second advantage over Simon Yates after leading out team-mate Jakub Mareczko, who was fifth behind Biniam Girmay. 

COMEBACK CAVENDISH 

Cavendish's haul of Grand Tour stage wins now sits at 53 – he also has 34 at the Tour de France and three at the Vuelta a Espana. Mario Cipollini (57) and the legendary Eddy Merckx (64) are the only riders to have managed more. 

Four of Cavendish's total at the Tour came last year, ending a five-year wait for a victory at one of cycling's three main events.  

Asked about the Manxman's resurgence, Van der Poel said: "We knew he was one of the favourites for today. After the Tour de France last year, we all know he can win stages again." 

STAGE RESULT  

1. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 4:56:39  
2. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) same time  
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) same time  
4. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time  
5. Jakub Mareczko (Alpecin-Fenix) same time  

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS  

General Classification  

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 09:43:50  
2. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) +0:11 
3. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) +0:16 

Points Classification   

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 62  
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 55  
3. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 53  

King of the Mountains  

1. Rick Zabel (Israel-Premier Tech) 5  
2. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma) 5  
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 3 

Simon Yates claimed his fifth win at the Giro d'Italia as he triumphed in the short time-trial stage two in Budapest on Saturday.

Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), who managed silver at the 2020 Olympics, produced a breathless ride to displace Matteo Sobrero (BikeExchange-Jayco) with the first time trial under 12 minutes on the 9.2-kilometre course.

However, Dumoulin soon relinquished his lead when Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) breezed across the finish line in 11:50, five seconds faster than the 2017 Giro winner's initial benchmark.

Race leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) completed the time check just a second slower than Yates, but ultimately fell three seconds short of a second consecutive stage victory.

Dutchman Van der Poel, sporting the pink jersey after collecting stage-one honours in Visegrad, retains the Maglia Rosa, while Brit Yates climbs to second in the general classification standings.

While many suggested victory at stage two would lay down a marker for the rest of his competitors, Yates insists there is a long way to go in Italy.

"It doesn't really change anything for me, of course, really happy with the win but it was only a 12-minute effort," he told reporters.

"It's not going to be won over these 12 minutes I don't think, the next stages are going to be really different so let's stay calm and see what the next couple of days hold."

Yates was also quick to credit his team for their work.

"We put a lot of hard work into improving our equipment, looking back to October and November, we were really working hard on it and now we are seeing the results from it," he added.

"I have to thank our sponsors, they really helped me to get into a great position in the winter to refine that on the road, as well as help from my team."

Van der Poel keeps Maglia Rosa

Yates may have done significant early damage to his general classification rivals, but Van der Poel will keep the pink jersey. The Alpecin-Fenix rider becomes the third Dutchman to sport the Maglia Rosa in the first two stages after Erik Breukink in 1987 and Dumoulin in 2016.

STAGE RESULT 

1.Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco): 11:50

2.Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix): +0:03

3.Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma): +0:05

4.Matteo Sobrero (BikeExchange-Jayco): +0:13

5.Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers): +0:13

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:47:11

2. Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) +0:11

3. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) +0:16

Points Classification

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 62

2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 35

3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) 25

King of the Mountains

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 3

2. Rick Zabel (Israel-Premier Tech) 3

3. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 2

Mathieu van der Poel snatched a dramatic win on stage one of the Giro d'Italia as the climb to the castle finish in Visegrad served up a spectacle.

The Giro got under way in Hungary and remains in the country over the weekend, before the riders head to Italy for the remainder of the 21-stage, 3,445.6-kilometre race.

Dutchman Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) fended off Eritrean Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), who marked his Grand Tour debut by finishing in second place.

Caleb Ewan (Lotto–Soudal) was rivalling both coming into the final corner but crashed heavily as he fought to make up ground.

Van der Poel, who won the second stage of the Tour de France last year, said of his Maglia Rosa success: "I knew positioning was going to be the key to winning today, and it was a bit difficult sometimes. It cost a lot of energy to catch the guys in front of me. I launched my sprint, and it was pretty close because the legs were full of lactate of course.

"I'm really happy. I knew I had a good chance, but it really hurt. It's incredible, after a yellow jersey to wear the pink now, we will see what the time trial brings tomorrow."

Girmay told Eurosport: "I tried all my best. I'm at my limit, but Van der Poel was stronger than me today, but I'm really happy."

A largely flat 195km ride from Budapest to Visegrad threw up little drama until the closing five kilometres. Belgian Lawrence Naesen (AG2R Citroen) made the first break up the hill and held a nine-second lead with 2.7km remaining, before he was caught by Germany's Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Kamna, too, fell away, setting up the frantic dash to the line that gave Van der Poel his first Giro stage victory.

 

Maglia Rose delight for Van der Poel

Getting to wear the Maglia Rose (pink jersey) will make Van der Poel the third Dutchman to have held the lead in both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. Giro organisers said it means he follows the example of compatriots Wim van Est and Erik Breukink, who also led both race.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:35:28 
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) same time 
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) same time 
4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-Easypost) same time 
5. Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time 

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4:35:18 
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +0:04
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) +0:06

Points Classification

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 50
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 35
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) 25

King of the Mountains

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 3
2. Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) 2
3. Peio Bilbao Lopez de Armentia (Bahrain Victorious) 1

The first Grand Tour of 2022 starts on Friday, with the Giro d'Italia getting underway in Hungary.

Any chances of Egan Bernal being in line to defend his title were dashed in January, when the Colombian suffered serious injuries in a training ride in his homeland.

Fortunately, Bernal has recovered and is training again in Europe with his INEOS Grenadiers team-mates, but he will not be vying for a second successive maglia rosa.

Likewise, Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar is skipping the Giro to focus his efforts on a third straight yellow jersey. His fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic, too, will not be present for the 3,445.6km race that begins in Budapest and takes in a trip around Sicily before snaking its way around the Italian mainland, finishing with a time trial in Verona.

But the lack of standout favourites could well result in a more open race. Though not a general classification contender, Mark Cavendish is making his long-awaited Giro return, while Vincenzo Nibali will visit his hometown on what seems set to be his final appearance at this particular Grand Tour.

 

Stats Perform looks at the key storylines heading into the Giro d'Italia.

Picks of the bunch

This year's route features only 26.3km of time trialling – the lowest amount in a Giro since 1963, when there were no time trials. Instead, there is close to 51km of climbing, with much of that reserved for the gruelling final stages.

It is no surprise, then, that reigning world time trial champion Filippo Ganna, who has won six stages across the last two Giro and claimed gold in the team pursuit for Italy at the Tokyo Olympics, is not involved for INEOS this time around.

 

Leading the Grenadiers will be Richard Carapraz, the 2019 victor who will have support from Pavel Sivakov, a particularly strong climber.

For Alpecin-Felix, Mathieu van der Poel will hope to build on his impressive GT debut from last year's Tour de France and collect some points in the early stages, while Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) will want another shot at Giro glory.

Yates had top drop out in 2020 after testing positive for coronavirus but won two stages to finish third in 2021. Indeed, that makes him the best performer from last year's GC to feature this time around, with Damiano Caruso, who took second, also sitting out.

Tom Dumoulin won in 2017 and is back after a hiatus, while 42-year-old Movistar rider Alejandro Valverde is set for his final Giro appearance, with the Spaniard set to retire at the end of the season.

Mikel Landa took the maglia azzurra in 2017 and he leads a Bahrain-Victorious team that includes Wout Poels, who held the king of the mountains jersey for four stages of Le Tour last year.

Cav is back

After his sensational efforts in last year's Tour de France, when he matched Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins, Cavendish will return to the Giro after a nine-year absence after he was confirmed to be heading up the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team.

Cavendish last featured in the race in 2013, topping the points classification after winning five stages.

His participation here does cast doubt over whether he will compete in Le Tour and get the chance to set the stage-win record in that race, especially as he turns 37 later this month (he'll celebrate his birthday with a 153km mountain stage from Santena to Torino on May 21).

However, regardless of whether he gets another shot at Tour de France history in July, Cavendish will be out to add to his 15 Giro stage wins. 

 

Nibali's long goodbye

The Giro passes through Messina on May 11, marking a return to his hometown for Nibali, the two-time champion who looks set to be making his final appearance in the race.

Nibali has won four Grand Tours and while the 37-year-old is unlikely to make any GC inroads (his last success was in 2016), it will be a glorious opportunity for him to bid farewell.

He was in tears after winning last year's Giro di Sicilia – how fitting would it be if he were to win an eighth Giro stage of his career back in the town where he grew up.

Nibali was the last Italian rider to win the Giro, and Italy's hopes rest on Trek-Segafredo's Giulio Ciccone, who crashed out in 2021.

Mark Cavendish will return to the Giro d'Italia after a nine-year absence after he was confirmed to be heading up the QuickStep-AlphaVinyl team at 2022's first Grand Tour event.

Cavendish last featured in the race in 2013, topping the points classification after winning five stages.

The legendary sprinter has 15 stage wins in five previous appearances in the race, and will be hoping to replicate his successful comeback at last year's Tour de France, where he matched Eddy Merckx's career record of 34 stage victories, which had stood since 1975, after a three-year absence from the race.

As his team confirmed Cavendish's participation on Twitter, directeur sportif Davide Bramati said he is excited about the 36-year-old's chances of further success.

"We go to the Giro d’Italia with a lot of motivation. We have a good team at the start, with Mark as our man for the flat," Bramati said in a team statement.

"He has won a lot of stages at the Giro, and he can rely on many strong riders to support and guide him in the hectic bunch sprints.

"For the other stages, we'll just take it one day at a time, fight for every opportunity and see what we can do. We know that it won't be an easy three weeks, it never is, but we will try to do our best, because it's in our nature."

 

Cavendish's selection for the three-week race, which begins in Budapest on May 6 and finishes in Verona on May 29, does, however, make another appearance in the Tour de France appear to be unlikely this year, with Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen expected to get the nod.

The 36-year-old has been in good form in 2022, becoming the first British rider to win the Milano-Torino one-day race and picking up three race victories since the turn of the year.

Julian Alaphilippe will remain in hospital for a further period of observation after suffering serious injuries when he crashed during the Liege–Bastogne–Liege.

The world champion was involved in a huge pile-up in the middle of the peloton 62 kilometres from the end of the race on Sunday.

Alaphilippe sustained two broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade and a collapsed lung.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team on Tuesday revealed that the Frenchman will continue to be monitored in a hospital in the Belgian city of Herentals.

The 29-year-old's team said in a statement: "As previously reported, Julian sustained two broken ribs, a broken scapula and a haemopneumothorax [collapsed lung].

"The complexity of his condition means that a period of further observation will be required before a recovery pathway will be decided. He will remain in the hospital in Herentals for the time being."

Alaphilippe's team-mate Ilan Van Wilder broke his jaw when he crashed in the same incident, but the Belgian has been discharged from hospital following surgery

Van Wilder, however, has been ruled out of the Giro d'Italia.

Sir Bradley Wiggins has claimed he was groomed by a former cycling coach as a child.

The 41-year-old, who became the first and so far only rider to win the Tour de France and an Olympic gold medal in the same year in 2012, made the claims in an interview with Men's Health UK.

Wiggins, who won a total of eight Olympic medals (five gold, one silver, and two bronze) during a glittering career, said he had buried the abuse during his youth due to a strained relationship with his stepfather, but did not name the alleged offender.

"I was groomed by a coach when I was younger – I was about 13 – and I never fully accepted that... It all impacted me as an adult… I buried it," Wiggins said.

"My stepfather was quite violent to me, he used to call me a f***** for wearing Lycra and stuff, so I didn't think I could tell him. I was such a loner... I just wanted to get out of the environment. I became so insular. I was quite a strange teenager in many ways, and I think the drive on the bike stemmed from adversity."

Wiggins, who became the first British winner of the Tour de France with his 2012 triumph, also opened up on his battles with mental health issues, describing the most successful period of his cycling career as the "unhappiest period" of his life.

"In 2012, after winning the Tour de France, then winning at the Olympics, life was never the same again," he added.

"I was thrust into this fame and adulation that came with the success... I'm an introverted, private person. I didn't know who 'me' was, so I adopted a kind of veil – a sort of rock star veil.

"It wasn't really me... It was probably the unhappiest period of my life. Everything I did was about winning for other people, and the pressures that came with being the first British winner of the Tour. I really struggled with it."

Wiggins ended his cycling career in 2016, having won Olympic medals in four consecutive games between 2004 and 2016: in Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.

British Cycling has offered support to Wiggins after the claims became public.

INEOS Grenadiers won the Paris-Roubaix for the first time as Dylan van Baarle clinched victory in the prestigious one-day classic.

Van Baarle's victory came with a record – his average speed of 45.79kph (28.45mph) is the quickest ever recorded in the history of the gruelling race.

The Dutchman also benefited from Yves Lampaert's collision with a roadside spectator in the final kilometres of the 257.2km route from Compiegne to the Velodrome Andre-Petrieux in Roubaix.

It marked an extraordinary turnaround for 29-year-old Van Baarle who finished outside the time limit in last year's Paris-Roubaix in October, though he came into the 2022 race in good form, having taken second place in the Tour of Flanders earlier in April.

INEOS, meanwhile, won the title for the first time since the team were launched as Team Sky in 2010.

Van Baarle finished in a time of five hours and 37 minutes, one minute and 47 seconds ahead of second-placed Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma), who was making his first appearance since recovering from COVID-19.

Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) came across the line in the same time as Van Aert and claimed the final podium place.

"It's unbelievable. I couldn't believe it when I went on the velodrome, you know," Van Baarle told reporters.

He added, according to Cycling News: "When the team car came up next to me, then I really started believing in it. It's been crazy. To be second in Flanders and then to win Roubaix, I'm lost for words."

A frustrated Lampaert told Sporza: "Those are situations that should not happen in a race. It's a shame. That man brought his arm forward and it hit my arm. As a result, I lost control of the bike and I couldn't stay up.

"If you don't know anything about the race, then stay at home. For me, it was dramatic, because there was still a podium place at play."

Egan Bernal says he is "happy to be alive" and is "starting to feel like a cyclist again" as he steps up his recovery from a horror crash.

The 25-year-old required multiple surgeries after sustaining a fractured vertebra, a fractured right femur, a fractured right patella, chest trauma, a punctured lung, and several fractured ribs when he collided with a parked bus at high speed on a training ride in Colombia.

Bernal, who won the won the 2019 Tour de France and the 2021 Giro d'Italia, was originally told by doctors that there was a "95 per cent chance" of him being left paralysed by the crash.

Just days after being pictured on the road for the first time in two months, an emotional Bernal opened up on his recovery.

"I actually received an important lesson from this accident, so absurdly I'm actually thankful for having lived through this experience," Bernal said, speaking at a 'Ride With Egan' event held on the virtual cycling platform Zwift.

"I'm happy to be alive and little by little I'm starting to feel like a cyclist again. 

"I want to say thanks to all the people who wrote to me and sent me positive energy, they really helped me. 

"Having the energy and support of an entire country, of so many people in cycling from around the world and especially of my loved ones, has allowed me to move forward and contradict the first terrible diagnoses of the doctors."

Bernal explained the accident had allowed him to view life in a different way, acknowledging his aim of being "the best rider in the world" had faded into irrelevance when he was faced with the life-threatening consequences of the collision.

"The accident allowed me to see things from a different perspective," Bernal added. "Before, I was only focused on cycling and being the best rider in the world. But the real priority in life is to feel good and be able to be with those who love us.

"When you are attached to a ventilator you feel fragile and vulnerable, only then do you really value what you previously underestimated or took for granted.

"Now, I send my strength to those who are suffering. We must have patience and give the right consideration to what happens to us in life. 

"Being forced to miss races can be traumatic, but it is more important to still be in this world, surrounded by the affection of family and friends. Sometimes we forget what really matters."

The INEOS Grenadiers rider was, however, reluctant to set a date for his competitive return.

"I don't know what the recovery time will be. I don't want to rush or set a date for my return, it wouldn't be ideal given everything that has happened," he added.

"Clearly I hope to recover as soon as possible, but I have to listen to my body. Before thinking about getting back to winning, I have to get back to full health and finish a race. That would already be an important success.

"I hope I'm not afraid to do what I love.

"I don't know if when I go back to going fast I'll be scared or not. For now, I've only done a few rides. Fear was certainly not the first sensation I felt when I got back in the saddle. Instead, it was pure happiness."

World-class cyclist Nicholas Paul and Olympian Tyra Gittens walked away with the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year titles at the 59th edition of the First Citizens Sports Awards in Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday.

T&T’s Olympic 4X400m metre relay team of Machel Cedenio, Jereem Richards, Dwight St. Hillaire and the late Deon Lendore, who won the Lytsra Lewis Award, were also recognized at the ceremony hosted by 2013 400m hurdles World Champion Jehue Gordon and aired on CNC3 Television in the twin-island republic.

Swimmer Nikoli Blackman was crowned the Youth Sportsman of the Year 2021 for the consecutive year while tennis player Jordane Dookie was selected as the Youth Sportswoman of the Year 2021 title. Meanwhile, the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Award went to The Tennis Association of Trinidad & Tobago for outstanding administrative work.

Overall, 46 of T&T’s top athletes were honoured during the ceremony for their outstanding achievements over the past year. The country’s Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe praised the awardees for what he described as their “unrelenting spirit, sense of pride and purpose, and the larger than life persona they exude every time they set out to represent the red, white and black.

“You are our true heroes, who serve as a symbol of hope, perseverance, courage and strength, not only to our youth but to our nation,” she said.

Chairman of the First Citizens Sports Foundation, Dr Terry Ali, echoed similar sentiments while adding that the Sports Foundation would continue with its collaborative work with key stakeholders to support the successful restart of sporting events in Trinidad and Tobago.

Karen Darbasie, Group Chief Executive Officer at First Citizens, expressed gratitude at being able to honour the country’s best athletes. “The First Citizens Sports Awards is yet another proud moment, not only for those being honoured but also for us, who have been privileged to uphold that responsibility of bestowing honour,” she said.

Among the youth finalists who received awards were Alan-Safar Ramoutar – Chess; Ryan D’Abreau – Cycling; Shakeem Mc Kay – Track & Field; Zara La Fleur – Chess; Janae De Gannes – Track & Field; and Natassia Baptiste – Volleyball.

Among the senior finalists were Nigel Paul – Boxing; Dylan Carter – Swimming; Andrew Lewis – Sailing; Teniel Campbell – Cycling; Kennya Cordner – Football; Felice Aisha Chow – Rowing, and Samantha Wallace – Netball.

Egan Bernal has returned to the road for the first time since his horrific crash in January.

The 25-year-old, who won the 2019 Tour de France and the 2021 Giro d'Italia, was treated in intensive care after hitting a parked bus at high speed while on a training ride in Colombia in January.

Bernal required multiple surgeries after sustaining a fractured vertebra, a fractured right femur, a fractured right patella, chest trauma, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs.

The Colombian revealed in a social media post later that month that there was a "95 per cent chance" of him being paralysed or killed during the incident, but has now been pictured on the road in a tweet from the official INEOS Grenadiers account.

"The best Monday motivation we could ever hope for, Egan Bernal is back on the bike," INEOS tweeted.

"The happiest day of my life," he wrote on Twitter.

"After 2 months and 20 broken bones, here I am, and I want more! See you on the road!"

Former cyclist Chris Hoy, one of Great Britain's most successful Olympians, told Stats Perform earlier this month that he expects Bernal to recover, though knows it will be a long way back.

"I guess it's always hard to tell just how bad an injury or how bad mentally a big crash can affect athletes and with social media, you're always trying to portray the best possible side and the positive side all the time," said Hoy.

"But there is no doubt that no matter how well he's doing now, it will have been a huge struggle to get past the physical injuries and the psychological scars as well from such a horrible accident.

"He is a fierce competitor, all the other team-mates who know him say that if anyone can, he can, and I think the cycling community is hoping that he will get back to his very best and be able to compete on the biggest stage. But, you know, it's not a small challenge that he's facing, but we'll have to wait and see."

Chris Hoy has labelled Mark Cavendish's spectacular Tour de France comeback as "one of the greatest" in sporting history.

Cavendish, a silver medallist on the track for Great Britain at the 2016 Olympic Games, made a stunning return to Le Tour in 2021.

Having not featured in the race since 2018, Cavendish came in as a late replacement for Deceuninck-QuickStep and landed four stage wins, seeing him match the great Eddy Merckx's career record of 34 stage victories that had stood since 1975.

Indeed, Cavendish went into the final stage with the opportunity to surpass Merckx, though he could only finish third in a sprint finish on the Champs-Elysees. He nevertheless took the green jersey for the second time in his career.

It was an unlikely road back for 36-year-old Cavendish, who just last week became the oldest winner of the Milano-Torino.

"Oh, I think Mark Cavendish's comeback last year was one of the greatest in sport we've ever seen," Hoy, one of Great Britain's greatest Olympians, told Stats Perform.

"It was, I don't think even he had really thought that he was gonna have such an impact, and to be called in so late in the year. He had a really solid year, started winning again, he got his confidence back.

"But I don't think that he even envisaged that he would be competing in the Tour de France, let alone winning multiple stages and equalling the greatest of all time in many people's eyes.

 

"He's having a fantastic year this year as well, but regardless of what he does from now on he is a legend of the sport and that will not change. An extra Tour de France stage win is what he wants, but it wouldn't make him any more of a legend in my eyes.

"I'm sure for most of the cycling community his place is already cemented forever. He is a proper legend of the sport."

For Hoy, Cavendish's legacy is secured around the globe.

"I think Mark has real global appeal," Hoy said. "He's well known in the UK and has a huge following over here, but equally wherever he goes, wherever he competes, because of the way he raced, because he's so exciting, because there's always drama surrounding him.

"He either wins or there's always some controversy or something. It is great for the sport. I think the best thing about his comeback is seeing how much it means to him and the emotion, because sport is nothing without emotion.

"If somebody wins just routinely, and it becomes almost easy looking, even if it's not, but if it appears to be easy and there's no emotion, then it's hard for the public to get behind that. But for Cav, he's always had that emotion, people love to see how much it means to him.

"We've never seen Cav quite as emotional as when he won his first stage of the Tour last year, it was incredible."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.