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Izaguirre wins stage, Jungels keeps Giro lead despite crash

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PESCHICI, Italy — Spanish rider Gorka Izaguirre profited from a crash on the short but steep concluding climb to win the eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday while Bob Jungels held on to the pink jersey despite a minor crash.

Izaguirre had time to raise his arms and celebrate his first individual Grand Tour win while Giovanni Visconti crossed second, five seconds behind, and Luis Leon Sanchez finished third, five seconds further back.

Valerio Conti was leading the four-man breakaway at the start of the concluding 1.5-kilometer climb but he lost control and crashed to the pavement while negotiating a tight turn. That’s when Izaguirre made his decisive attack.

“Visconti was probably the most dangerous rival for the stage victory in the front group,” Izaguirre said. “I got an opportunity and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.”

Izaguirre also won a team time trial with Movistar in the 2014 Spanish Vuelta.

Jungels and the other overall favorites finished 12 seconds behind Izaguirre.

Jungels, of Luxembourg with the Quick Step team, maintained his six-second advantage over Geraint Thomas of Wales. Fellow Briton Adam Yates remained third, 10 seconds back, with most of the overall favorites.

The 189-kilometer (117-mile) stage began in Molfetta and hugged the coast of the Puglia region and the Gargano peninsula before finishing in the picturesque town of Peschici amid its white stone homes.

Jungels, who claimed the pink jersey after the fourth stage, crashed on a downhill section with 35 kilometers to go and bloodied his left knee.

“It’s not a problem,” Jungels said. “I just didn’t pay attention and I hit the back wheel of my teammate on a low-speed corner.”

Jungels and the other leaders also had to chase down an attack by Sky’s Mikel Landa.

“We knew it would be a hard start but nobody expected such a competitive stage,” said Jungels, who at age 24 also leads the under-25 classification.

Stage 9 on Sunday concludes with a serious climb to Blockhaus.

The 100th Giro ends in Milan on May 28.

Froome finishes 10th in Ruta del Sol, Wellens wins

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MADRID (AP) Chris Froome finished Spain’s Ruta del Sol race in 10th place behind winner Tim Wellens on Sunday.

The five-stage race in southern Spain was Froome’s first event since the four-time Tour de France winner was found to have failed a doping test at last year’s Spanish Vuelta.

Froome, who denies any wrongdoing, has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.

Wellens, a Belgian rider for Lotto-Soudal, defended his lead over the final day’s time trial.

Wout Poels, of Froome’s Sky Team, was second at eight seconds behind.

Froome, who won the event in 2015, finished 1 minute, 57 seconds behind. He started the time trial on the final day in 14th after a puncture toward the end of Saturday’s fourth stage.

Froome returns to racing despite doping investigation

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MALAGA, Spain (AP) Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome is returning to racing on Wednesday despite being under investigation by cycling’s world governing body for failing a doping test.

Froome is participating in the five-day Ruta del Sol in southern Spain, an event he won in 2015.

“I know I have done nothing wrong, that’s my starting point,” Froome said. “There is a process in place for me to be up to demonstrate that, and that’s obviously what I intend to do.”

Froome has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.

He said he has received a lot of support from other riders so far, and that he is trying to solve the issue as fast as possible.

“I do believe that when all the facts are out there I think people will see it from my point of view,” Froome said.

If found guilty of doping, the British rider could lose his Vuelta title and be suspended for a long period.