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Roglic wins individual time trial, Brambilla keeps Giro lead

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GREVE, Italy (AP) Gianluca Brambilla retained the overall lead of the Giro d’Italia after the ninth stage on Sunday as Primoz Roglic won a rainy individual time trial for his first Grand Tour stage victory.

Roglic, who was beaten by 0.01 of a second in the opening time trial, had the advantage of drier roads before the rain began to fall on the hilly 40.5-kilometer (25-mile) route from Radda to Greve in Chianti in the heart of the Tuscan red wine-making region.

The Slovenian clocked 51 minutes, 45 seconds to claim a stage win in his first Grand Tour since switching from ski jumping to cycling.

“I didn’t expect it, I just wanted to do my best,” Roglic said. “In the end I also had some luck with the weather. This is the first time I do a time trial more than 10 kilometers.”

Mathias Brandle was 10 seconds behind Roglic, with Vegard Stake Laengen third, 17 seconds slower than the Team LottoNl-Jumbo cyclist.

Brambilla’s lead was cut to one second by Etixx-QuickStep teammate Bob Jungels. Andrey Amador is third overall, 32 seconds behind Brambilla.

“I’m really happy,” Brambilla said. “Today was different of course, it was difficult to defend the pink jersey … The last turn was very difficult because I saw riders crashing earlier in the day.”

Ilnur Zakarin had looked set to challenge for the pink jersey, especially after a strong start but the Russian had a disastrous day.

He first had to change his bike after an unspecified problem and then needed a second bicycle following a crash. Zakarin crashed again on the tricky final corner and crossed the line 3:51 down and well over a minute behind the GC favorites of Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa.

Monday is a rest day before Tuesday’s 10th stage, a hilly 219-kilometer ride from Campi Bisenzio to Sestola with no flat sections after the first 25K and an uphill finish.

The 99th Giro ends in Turin on May 29.

Brazilian cycling team faces 2nd ban for persistent doping

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AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) Brazilian team Soul Brasil Pro Cycling faces another ban from racing after two more riders were implicated in doping.

The International Cycling Union says the team will be judged by its disciplinary panel which can impose bans of up to one year.

Cycling rules allow teams to be suspended if two riders are caught doping in a one-year period.

In December, the team’s riders were suspended for 55 days after three cases involving the banned blood booster CERA since July. They included Kleber Ramos of Brazil, who competed in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic road race.

The UCI says the latest cases involve biological passport results for Alex Correia Diniz, who is provisionally suspended, and an allegation against Otavio Bulgarelli of tampering with a doping sample.

Van Avermaet wins Gent-Wevelgem for two victories in three days

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GENT, Belgium (AP) Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet won his second race in three days Sunday, beating fellow Belgian Jens Keukeleire in a two-man sprint finish to take the Gent-Wevelgem classic.

World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won last year’s race, finished third.

The 249-kilometer (154.7-mile) race through Belgium included two ascents of the steep, cobbled Kemmelberg hill, one of the iconic climbs of the spring classics season.

Last year’s race was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie after a fall.

Sagan fell Friday in the E3 Harelbeke, which Van Avermaet also won to add to his victory last month in Het Nieuwsblad.