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Chaves edges Rosa to become first Colombian to win Il Lomardia

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BERGAMO, Italy — Esteban Chaves became the first Colombian to win Il Lombardia in snatching victory from Diego Rosa of Italy by less than a bike wheel on Saturday.

Rosa looked set for a surprise victory after launching his sprint with 250 meters to go, but Chaves came from behind to claim his first Monument win, crossing the line to a huge sigh of disappointment from the Italian fans.

“It’s unbelievable, I can’t believe I won,” said the Orica-BikeExchange rider, who also became the first non-European to win the race in its 110-year history. “I turned pro here in Lombardy with Coldeportes, I lived in Bergamo for two years, and now I won the race. It’s really special.”

Another Colombian, Rigoberto Uran, was third in the final classic of the season, a challenging 241-kilometer (150-mile) route from Como to Bergamo, featuring 4,400 meters of climbing. All three had the same time of 6 hours, 26 minutes, 36 seconds.

Romain Bardet, who was part of the lead quartet, crossed the line fourth, six seconds slower, with the chase group more than a minute further back.

Chaves attacked at the bottom of the Selvino, and was swiftly joined by Uran and Bardet.

Rosa tried to drag Astana leader Fabio Aru back up to the front but the Sardinian told his teammate to go it alone and a fantastic effort saw him do just that, catching the front three at the top of the climb, with 30 kilometers remaining. And they distanced the peloton on the long, twisty descent into Bergamo.

Bardet was dropped on the climb to Bergamo Alta, as was Rosa briefly, but the French rider could not make it back on.

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?”‘