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Michel Mulder, Olympic speed skating champion by .01, retires at 33

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Michel Mulder, the speed skater who led a Dutch 500m sweep at the Sochi Olympics, reportedly retired at age 33.

Mulder said recent poor performances — including failing to make the deep Dutch team for February’s world championships — led to the decision, according to Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Mulder won the 2014 Olympic 500m by .01 of a second over countryman Jan Smeekens. The two-run event may be best remembered for Smeekens at first being listed as the winner, only for the time to be corrected moments later, likely due to a faulty leg transponder. Twin brother Ronald Mulder, who is 10 minutes older than Michel, took bronze, .15 of a second behind.

Mulder became the first athlete from the Netherlands to win an Olympic 500m, the only individual distance the skating-crazed nation had yet to capture. In all, the Netherlands won half of the 14 speed skating events in Sochi, and 16 of the 42 medals.

Mulder followed up by taking silver at the 2015 World Championships, but then finished sixth in the 2018 Dutch Olympic trials, failing to earn the right to defend his Olympic title. He last made a World Cup podium nearly two years ago.

Ronald Mulder was the Netherlands’ top finisher in PyeongChang in seventh place, .42 behind Norwegian gold medalist Havard Lorentzen in a one-run event.

A Dutch man hasn’t won a World Cup 500m in either of the last two seasons.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Dafne Schippers out of world championships 200m

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Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the freshly crowned world 100m champion, and Dafne Schippers, the two-time reigning world 200m champion, both withdrew before the 200m that began with heats at the world championships in Doha on Monday.

Neither absence was a surprise.

The Jamaican Fraser-Pryce withdrew after storming to her fourth world 100m title on Sunday night. A turnaround to start the 200m the following day is a tough ask. Men’s 100m champ Christian Coleman similarly withdrew before the men’s 200m heats on Sunday.

The Dutchwoman Schippers reached Sunday’s 100m final but did not contest it, suffering an adductor problem in the earlier semifinals, according to the IAAF.

While Fraser-Pryce and Schippers combined to win the last three world titles at 200m, they rank Nos. 7 and 13 in the world this year in the event. The 200m also lacks 2017 World silver medalist Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Cote d’Ivoire and the fastest woman in the world this year, Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who is only doing the 400m at worlds because of the schedule.

The favorites in the 200m (the final is Wednesday) are Brit Dina Asher-Smith and Jamaican Olympic champion Elaine Thompson. The top-ranked American this year is Anglerne Annelus, who is seeded fourth.

TRACK WORLDS: Results | TV Schedule

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Annemiek van Vleuten wins world road race title with solo 65-mile attack

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Annemiek van Vleuten, four days after being denied a third straight world time trial title, was determined to win her first road race crown. The Dutchwoman broke away from the peloton with 65 miles left in Saturday’s 92-mile race and rode solo to the finish in Yorkshire, Great Britain.

Van Vleuten held off countrywoman and defending champion Anna van der Breggen by 2 minutes, 15 seconds after more than four hours in the saddle. Australian Amanda Spratt took bronze. Full results are here.

American phenom Chloe Dygert Owen, who on Tuesday beat the dominant Dutch team for the time trial title, attempted to chase down van Vleuten with about 30 miles left.

But she could not get closer than 1:49 at any time check before being caught by the other chasers and ending up fourth.

Instead, van Vleuten earned her biggest career road race win, three years after a horrific crash in the event at the Rio Olympics. She suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped into a ditch. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course in Brazil.

Worlds conclude with the men’s road race on Sunday.

MORE: World Road Cycling Championships TV Schedule

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