Alpine skiing World Cup plans earlier season start with fewer fans

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The traditional start of the Alpine skiing World Cup plans to go ahead a week earlier than planned in October with reduced spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The season-opening women’s and men’s giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria, will be Oct. 17-18. Moving them a week earlier will better separate the races from tourist crowds and help with accommodations, according to the Austrian ski federation.

The federation said the races on the Rettenbach glacier will be held “without a large number of spectators.”

The World Cup schedule from October through March is still on, including usual stops in the U.S. and Canada in late November and early December, plus the February world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Last season was cut short due to the pandemic, canceling the final two weeks of racing, including the World Cup Finals in Cortina.

Standings leaders Federica Brignone of Italy and Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway were declared World Cup overall champions.

Mikaela Shiffrin led the standings by a comfortable 370 points when she took her break from racing following the death of her father, Jeff, on Feb. 2. Shiffrin traveled to Are, Sweden, to return for the last weekend of races in March before they were canceled.

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MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results

Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice
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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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