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Italy’s Davide Cimolai wins opening stage of Tour of Catalonia

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CALELLA, Spain (AP) Davide Cimolai of Italy won the opening stage of the Tour of Catalonia by less than a wheel on Monday.

The FDJ rider pushed his wheel just in front of Nacer Bouhanni as the two broke away in the final meters of the 179-kilometer (111-mile) mountainous stage starting and ending in the coastal town of Calella.

“The objective was to win one stage, and now I work for the team,” Cimolai said after finishing the stage in 4 1/2 hours.

It was his second career win at the Tour of Catalonia after also winning a stage last year.

Tour de France winner Chris Froome and top rivals Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde finished safely in the peloton.

The stage on Tuesday is a 41-kilometer (25-mile) team time trial to and from Banyoles.

The week-long race in northeastern Spain concludes on Sunday in Barcelona.

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.

Alejandro Valverde wins his second Tour of Catalonia

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain won his second Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.

Valverde secured the victory by finishing first in the 139-kilometer (86-mile) seventh stage, perfectly timing his final sprint at a hilltop overlooking Barcelona.

He finished the weeklong race more than one minute ahead of Alberto Contador and Marc Soler, who closed out the all-Spanish podium.

Valverde won despite receiving a one-minute time penalty Wednesday after race officials ruled that some Movistar riders pushed one another in Tuesday’s team time trial.

The 36-year-old Valverde had won two other stages.

Valverde also won the race in northeastern Spain in 2009, the same year he clinched the Spanish Vuelta for his only Grand Tour title.

Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell out of contention during Saturday’s stage.