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Kittel wins 2nd Giro stage as Dumoulin retains overall lead

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NIJMEGEN, Netherlands (AP) Tom Dumoulin retained the overall lead of the Giro d’Italia as Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory in the second stage on Saturday.

Kittel waited to start his sprint but once he hit the front no one could challenge him, and the German had time to raise his arms in celebration as he crossed the line several bike lengths ahead of Arnaud Demare.

Sacha Modolo was third on the 190-kilometer (118-mile) route from Arnhem to Nijmegen.

It was Kittel’s third stage win in the Giro. By coincidence, none of those victories have come in Italy, with his two previous successes in Ireland in 2014.

Kittel moved to third in the overall standings, one second behind Dumoulin and Primoz Roglic, who the Dutchman beat by one hundredth of a second in Friday’s opening time trial.

There was an early breakaway of Omar Fraile, Giacomo Berlato, and Maarten Tjallingii, and the trio stayed clear for more than 160 kilometers.

They had an advantage of 10 minutes at one point before the sprinters’ teams started working to bring them back.

Fraile and Tjallingii were the first to be caught, while Berlato went alone for a further 13 kilometers, before he was swallowed up at the end of the first of two 8.6-kilometer circuits to the finish line.

The 99th Giro continues in the Netherlands on Sunday with another sprint stage before an early rest day and a return to Italy.

The race ends in Turin on May 29.

Jungels wins Stage 15 of Giro; Dumoulin keeps pink jersey

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BERGAMO, Italy — Bob Jungels took a sprint ahead of several overall favorites to win the crash-filled 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, while Tom Dumoulin had six seconds shaved off his overall lead in the final leg before the high mountains.

Jungels, of Luxembourg with the Quick Step team, surged past Nairo Quintana and Thibaut Pinot at the end of the 199-kilometer (124-mile) route from Valdengo to Bergamo, which contained two categorized climbs shortly before the finish and a shorter climb up cobblestones in Bergamo’s old city.

“It’s never easy to plan an attack like mine today in a stage like this,” Jungels said. “It was more of a classic than a Grand Tour stage. It’s what I needed to win a stage.”

Dumoulin’s lead was cut to 2:41 ahead of Quintana, with Pinot 3:21 back in third.

Not looking to take any unnecessary risks, Dumoulin rode more cautiously through the final kilometers and dropped slightly behind.

Quintana fell while negotiating a corner on a downhill stretch and had to change bikes.

Dumoulin ordered his teammates at the front to slow down and let Quintana catch up.

Tanel Kangert of Astana and Kenny Elissonde of Sky were involved in more serious crashes.

“I didn’t want to take time on Quintana when he crashed because it wasn’t the right way to do it,” Dumoulin said. “Sometimes the race goes on but this was a good moment to wait for him. My legs felt good today but I’m always looking forward to a rest day.”

Jungels wore the overall leader’s pink jersey for four days in the opening week and leads the best young rider classification. It was his first Grand Tour victory.

After the final rest day Monday, Stage 16 on Tuesday is considered the race’s toughest: a lengthy 222-kilometer (138-mile) leg from Rovetta to Bormio that features three strenuous climbs, including the legendary Mortirolo and Stelvio passes.

The 100th Giro concludes with an individual time trial in Milan next Sunday.

Huffman wins stage, Bennett overall at Tour of California

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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Evan Huffman emerged from the breakaway for the second time this week to win the final stage of the Tour of California, and George Bennett finished safely in the chasing group to win the overall race.

Huffman and Rally Cycling teammate Rob Britton were the main agitators on the fourth stage to Santa Clarita, when they swept the top two spots on the podium. They were at it again Saturday as part of a five-man breakaway that survived to the finish in Pasadena.

Huffman was followed by David Lopez Garcia, Nicolas Edet, Lachlan Morton and Britton, while the chasing group that included all the overall contenders finished 22 seconds behind.

That allowed Bennett to hold off Rafal Majka and Andrew Talansky for the yellow jersey.