Tom Dumoulin wins Giro d’Italia opening time trial

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APELDOORN, Netherlands — Home favorite Tom Dumoulin won the opening individual time trial of the Giro d’Italia by the finest of margins on Friday.

At the end of the flat 9.8-kilometer (6-mile) route, the Dutchman beat Primoz Roglic of Slovenia by one hundredth of a second.

“It’s incredible. I can almost not describe it in words,” said Dumoulin, who added that he felt sick afterwards. “(Hundredth) of a second is a breath of air and that’s it.

“It’s better than I could have imagined. In front of my home crowd to get the most beautiful jersey in cycling is very special. I did no big mistakes. You always think you could have done this corner a bit better, or that one … it wasn’t my best time trial but I’m wearing this jersey now. I will defend this as long as possible. I don’t think I have the level to compete in the real big mountains.”

Roglic took the lead off Dumoulin’s Giant-Alpecin teammate, Tobias Ludvigsson, who had been in the hot seat for around 90 minutes.

Ludvigsson eventually finished fourth, eight seconds behind the leading duo, and two seconds behind Costa Rican cyclist Andrey Amador.

Another time trial specialist, Fabian Cancellara, was hoping for a victory that would have handed him the first maglia rosa of his long career. But he was hampered by stomach flu and finished eighth, 14 seconds behind Dumoulin.

Overall favorite Vincenzo Nibali, the 2013 champion, was 19 seconds behind in 16th place.

“It was a very explosive time trial, I had to make a really big effort,” Nibali said. “It’s one stage out of the way now. I can be more than satisfied by what’s happened, but let’s just keep our feet on the ground.

“One or two days before a Grand Tour you can feel nervous, and I’m just happy we’re underway now.”

Stefan Kung threatened to challenge Dumoulin’s lead as he was only one second slower at 4.8 kilometers, but he crashed into the barriers. The Swiss rider finished up 16 seconds behind.

The 99th Giro continues in the Netherlands with two sprint stages before an early rest day and a return to Italy. The race ends in Turin on May 29.

Nibali wins Milan-San Remo classic with solo attack

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SAN REMO, Italy (AP) Vincenzo Nibali carried off a daring solo attack to perfection to win the Milan-San Remo classic on Saturday and add to his long list of major achievements in cycling.

The Italian accelerated away from the pack on the Poggio, the final climb of the 294-kilometer (183-mile) race, with 7 kilometers to go.

Nibali then showed off his downhill skills on the technical descent and narrowly held off a pack of chasing sprinters on the flat finish.

Nibali looked back only once, with 50 meters remaining, and realized he had time to raise his arms in celebration before crossing the line in a time of 7 hours, 18 minutes, 43 seconds.

“I saw I created a gap right away,” Nibali said. “When I looked back it was a special emotion. It’s a race I didn’t expect to win because I’m not (a sprinter).

Caleb Ewan of Australia crossed second and Arnaud Demare of France finished third, both with the same time as Nibali.

Nibali, who rides for the Bahrain Merida team, has also won all three Grand Tours: the Giro d’Italia – twice – the Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta.

Always looking for the fastest lines, Nibali at one point came so close to the fences that he knocked a cell phone out of a fan’s hand.

“When I pull these things off sometimes even I don’t know how I’m able do it,” Nibali said.

Mark Cavendish, the British sprinting standout, slammed into road furniture with 10 kilometers to go and flipped over his bike onto the asphalt.

Kwiatkowski wins Tirreno-Adriatico, Dennis takes final stage

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy (AP) Michal Kwiatkowski won the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race Tuesday after an impressive time trial on the final stage, which was won by Rohan Dennis.

Kwiatkowski started the individual time trial with an advantage of three seconds over Damiano Caruso and he was quicker than the Italian rider at every time check.

The Polish cyclist eventually finished 24 seconds ahead of Caruso in the overall standings, with Geraint Thomas third, 32 seconds behind his Team Sky teammate.

“I don’t actually know the final result, just that I won, and that’s all that matters,” Kwiatkowski said. “It was very nervous. When I was warming up it started raining so I was scared something might go wrong.

“I had to go with lower tire pressure. It was tricky … I had to be careful but I had good feelings today and that’s why I could finish so well.”

Thomas lost 36 seconds to the leaders following a mechanical failure during the fourth stage of the seven-stage race.

Dennis was quickest on the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. The Australian, who also won the closing time trial last year, was four seconds faster than Jos van Emden and eight ahead of Jonathan Castroviejo.

“To be honest I was nervous about it,” Dennis said. “I was looking at the best times on the course and was thinking, `What do I need to aim for?”‘