TORTOLI, Italy (AP) Andre Greipel of Germany won a bunch sprint to take the second stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday and the pink jersey for the first time.
Greipel edged out Roberto Ferrari at the end of the hilly 221-kilometer (137-mile) leg from Olbia to Tortoli, crossing the line in just over six hours.
Jasper Stuyven was third on another slow day at the Giro, with lots of crosswinds and some headwinds.
It appeared as if it would be a three-way sprint between Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, and Greipel, but Ewan’s foot slipped out of the pedal after rubbing shoulders with Gaviria. The Australian, who was second on Friday, banged his handlebars in frustration.
Ewan was third in the overall standings, eight seconds behind Greipel. The latter, who rides for Lotto Soudal, has a four-second lead over Lukas Postlberger, who was the surprise winner on the opening day.
The third stage on Sunday is a 148-kilometer (92-mile) route from Tortoli to Cagliari, and the final leg in Sardinia. Monday is a rest day and the transfer to Sicily.
The 100th Giro ends on May 28.
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.