Patrick Konrad wins Tour de France stage ahead of major mountain days

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SAINT-GAUDENS, France — Austrian rider Patrick Konrad won the Tour de France’s hilly 16th stage on an otherwise uneventful day Tuesday as race leader Tadej Pogacar remained on course for his second overall victory.

Konrad made his decisive break with just over 22.5 miles to go, 2.5 miles before the summit of Col de Portet-d’Aspet, and he maintained the lead for his first Tour stage win.

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The 29-year-old Konrad finished 42 seconds ahead of a group of five chasers — Sonny Colbrelli, Michael Matthews, Pierre Luc Perichon, Franck Bonnamour and Alex Aranburu Deba — on the second day of racing in the Pyrenees.

Konrad is only the third Austrian to win a stage at cycling’s biggest race after Max Bulla, who won three in 1931, and Georg Totschnig in 2005.

“I’m speechless. This one is for my family, for my friends, for all my believers,” Konrad said. “I’m happy I had the legs to make it to the finish. The last kilometer was uphill and it was painful again but I had some time to celebrate.”

Pogacar, the defending champion, finished 13 minutes, 49 seconds after Konrad and maintained his general classification lead of more than five minutes over Rigoberto Uran and Jonas Vingegaard.

Pogacar remained in the peloton with his GC rivals as his UAE Team Emirates team enjoyed a comfortable ride in the 105-mile trek from the tiny mountain-locked nation of Andorra.

“The first two hours we were just flying, and then it settled down, but then fireworks again so it was quite technical, quite hard,” Pogacar said.

The Slovenian only had to deal with rivals’ attacks in the final kilometers, but he had little trouble dealing with Guillaume Martin and Wout van Aert’s late actions.

“I just follow the wheels. I don’t know. I had no idea what we were doing. But yeah, it was good to open the legs,” said Pogacar, who just needs to avoid any mishaps in the remaining five stages.

Wednesday will be a day of Pyrenees punishment with an unforgiving 111-mile route that ends with three major obstacles in a row. The 17th stage ends with the hardest, a steep 16-kilometer climb to the 2,215-meter altitude finish atop Col du Portet.

“The hardest day in the Tour,” Pogacar said.

“I did the recon for tomorrow and the day after so I know the climbs. It would be better if I didn’t see them,” the 22-year-old joked. “I’m not worried, but it’s going to be really hard I think.”

Amund Groendahl Jansen, who had been struggling since the opening stage crash, dropped out Tuesday morning, while Vincenzo Nibali also didn’t start. The Italian had already said he would pull out after stage 15 to focus on the Olympics.

It meant more than 20% of the Grand Départ starters were no longer competing. The 145-rider peloton had not been reduced so much before the second rest day since 2012.

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IOC gives more time to pick 2030 Olympic host, studies rotating Winter Games

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The 2030 Winter Olympic host, expected to be Salt Lake City or Sapporo, Japan, is no longer targeted to be decided before next fall, the IOC said in announcing wider discussions into the future of the Winter Games, including the possibility of rotating the Games within a pool of hosts.

The IOC Future Host Commission was granted more time to study factors, including climate change, that could impact which cities and regions host future Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The 2030 Winter Games host is not expected to be decided before or at an IOC session next September or October.

Hosts have traditionally been chosen by IOC members vote seven years before the Games, though recent reforms allow flexibility on the process and timeline. For example, the 2024 and 2028 Games were awarded to Paris and Los Angeles in a historic double award in 2017. The 2032 Summer Games were awarded to Brisbane last year without a traditional bid race.

Italy hosts the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

There are three interested parties for the 2030 Winter Olympics, the IOC said Tuesday without naming them. Previously, Salt Lake City, Sapporo and Vancouver were confirmed as bids. Then in October, the British Columbia government said it would not support a Vancouver bid, a major setback, though organizers did not say that decision ended the bid. All three cities are attractive as past Winter Games hosts with existing venues.

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee officials have said Salt Lake City is a likelier candidate for 2034 than 2030, but could step in for 2030 if asked.

The future host commission outlined proposals for future Winter Olympics, which included rotating hosts within a pool of cities or regions and a requirement that hosts have an average minimum temperature below freezing (32 degrees) for snow competition venues at the time of the Games over a 10-year period.

The IOC Executive Board gave the commission more time to study the proposals and other factors impacting winter sports.

The IOC board also discussed and will continue to explore a potential double awarding of the 2030 and 2034 Winter Olympic hosts.

Also Tuesday, the IOC board said that Afghanistan participation in the 2024 Olympics will depend on making progress in safe access to sports for women and young girls in the country.

On Monday, Human Rights Watch urged the IOC to suspend Afghanistan until women and girls can play sport in the country.

In a press release, the IOC board expressed “serious concern and strongly condemned the latest restrictions imposed by the Afghan authorities on women and young girls in Afghanistan, which prevent them from practicing sport in the country.” It urged Afghanistan authorities to “take immediate action at the highest level to reverse such restrictions and ensure safe access to sport for women and young girls.”

The IOC board also announced that North Korea’s National Olympic Committee will be reinstated when its suspension is up at the end of the year.

In September 2021, the IOC banned the North Korean NOC through the end of 2022, including banning a North Korean delegation from participating in the Beijing Winter Games, after it chose not to participate in the Tokyo Games.

North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was the only one of 206 National Olympic Committees to withdraw from Tokyo. The country made its choice in late March 2021, citing a desire “to protect our athletes from the global health crisis caused by the malicious virus infection.”

The IOC said in September 2021 that it “provided reassurances for the holding of safe Games and offered constructive proposals to find an appropriate and tailor-made solution until the very last minute (including the provision of vaccines), which were systematically rejected by the PRK NOC.”

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Olympic champion Justine Dufour-Lapointe leaves moguls for another skiing discipline

Justine Dufour-Lapointe
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Justine Dufour-Lapointe, the 2014 Olympic moguls champion, is leaving the event to compete in freeriding, a non-Olympic skiing discipline.

“After three Olympic cycles and 12 years on the World Cup circuit, I felt that I needed to find a new source of motivation and had to push my limits even more so I can reach my full potential as a skier,” the 28-year-old Montreal native said in a social media video, according to a translation from French. “Today, I am starting a new chapter in my career. … I want to perfect myself in another discipline. I want to connect with the mountain differently. Above all, I want to get out of my comfort zone in a way I’ve never done before.”

Dufour-Lapointe said she will compete on the Freeride World Tour, a series of judged competitions described as:

There‘s a start gate at the summit and a finish gate at the bottom. That’s it. Best run down wins. It truly is that simple. Think skiers and snowboarders choosing impossible-looking lines through cornices and cliff-faces and nasty couloirs. Think progressive: big jumps, mach-speed turns and full-on attack. Think entertaining.

Dufour-Lapointe has retired from moguls skiing, according to a Freeride World Tour press release, though she did not explicitly say that in social media posts Tuesday.

At the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, Dufour-Lapointe denied American Hannah Kearney‘s bid to become the first freestyle skier to repeat as Olympic champion. Older sister Chloé took silver in a Canadian one-two.

Dufour-Lapointe also won the world title in 2015, then Olympic silver in 2018 behind Frenchwoman Perrine Laffont.

Chloé announced her retirement in September. A third Dufour-Lapointe Olympic moguls skier, Maxime, retired in 2018.

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