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Nibali takes pink jersey to virtually clinch Giro victory

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SANT’ANNA DI VINADIO, Italy (AP) Vincenzo Nibali attacked on the final major climb of the Giro d’Italia and grabbed the pink jersey from Esteban Chaves to virtually clinch his fourth Grand Tour victory Saturday, capping a dramatic two days in the Italian classic.

Nibali entered the penultimate stage 44 seconds behind Chaves and the Italian with Astana now has a 52-second lead entering Sunday’s final leg, a flat 163-kilometer (101-mile) route from Cuneo to Turin that should be mostly ceremonious.

It would be Nibali’s second Giro win to go with his 2013 title and add to his major trophy collection, which also includes a Tour de France victory in 2014 and a Spanish Vuelta win in 2010.

Rein Taaramae, an Estonian with Katusha, won the 20th stage, attacking solo from a breakaway.

French challenger Lappartient takes over as UCI president

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BERGEN, Norway — French official David Lappartient has beaten British incumbent Brian Cookson in a vote to become president of the International Cycling Union.

Lappartient, the European Cycling Union leader, won the vote 37-8 at the UCI’s annual congress.

Lappartient promised to “regain influence in the Olympic movement, where it has been losing ground.”

Track cycling at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be raced in a velodrome 130 kilometers (80 miles) outside the city, though two more medals were added in men’s and women’s Madison events.

Lappartient also promised to push for bans on some medications.

Elected in 2013 when cycling’s image was battered by doping scandals, Cookson told voters: “I’ve delivered change, I’ve restored the UCI’s credibility.”

Giro d’Italia to open 2018 race in Israel

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JERUSALEM — The Giro d’Italia cycling race will open next year’s event in Israel, marking the first time any leg of the sport’s Grand Tours will take place outside of Europe.

Race organizers say details of the exact route of the three-day leg in Israel will be announced next week. Italian and Israeli ministers will make the announcement, along with Spanish great Alberto Contador.

More than 175 of the world’s best cyclists will arrive in Israel for the race, one of cycling’s top three stage races along with the Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta. For the first time in its 101-year history, the Giro will begin outside Europe.

Viewed by hundreds of millions across the globe, this will be the biggest sporting event ever held in Israel.