TURIN, Italy (AP) Home favorite Vincenzo Nibali clinched a second Giro d’Italia victory and a fourth Grand Tour title on Sunday as Giacomo Nizzolo won a largely ceremonial final stage.
Nibali’s chances of repeating his 2013 feat seemed impossible on Friday as he started the stage nearly five minutes behind leader Steven Kruijswijk but a dramatic two days in the 99th edition of the Italian classic saw the Astana cyclist surge into the lead – helped by the Dutch rider’s crash into a snowbank.
With the rain falling heavily at the finish, the race was neutralized and Nibali – who had a completely pink bicycle to celebrate the occasion – knew he just had to finish safely to secure the pink jersey.
Esteban Chaves was second, 52 seconds behind Nibali.
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Three-time world road race champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia has confirmed he will compete in the Tour Down Under in January, the opening World Tour event of the season.
Sagan won the world title last month for the third straight year, becoming the first cyclist to do so. He competed in the Tour Down Under for the first time last year, finishing second on three stages behind Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan.
Sagan, who rides for the BORA-hansgrohe team, said the six-stage Tour Down Under is “the perfect start to the UCI World Tour season each year … a challenging and tough course, warm weather and the passionate fans that cheer for us day in day out no matter what.”
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) Former Olympic road cycling champion Samuel Sanchez, who returned a positive doping test in August, had his B-sample confirmed Wednesday and was promptly fired by the BMC Racing Team.
Sanchez’s out-of-competition test revealed growth hormone-releasing peptide 2, or GHRP-2, a drug that increases a body’s level of growth hormone. Several cyclists have tested positive for the drug, among them Italian rider Stefano Pirazzi, who was given a four-year ban earlier this week.
The U.S.-based BMC Team said in a statement Wednesday that it was adhering to its zero-tolerance policy toward doping by terminating the Spaniard’s contract “with immediate effect.”
The 39-year-old Sanchez, who had been provisionally suspended, won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.