Diego Rosa wins 5th Basque Country stage, Henao takes lead

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ARRATE, Spain — Diego Rosa of Italy completed an impressive solo ride to win a mountainous fifth stage of the Tour of Basque Country on Friday as Colombian Sergio Henao took over the lead.

Astana rider Rosa separated from an early breakaway group and stayed well in front of the pack for over 100 kilometers (62 miles) while crossing the route’s eight summits in steady rain and low temperatures. He finished in 4 hours, 19 minutes, 19 seconds.

The 27-year-old Italian savored his second career victory by stopping just before the finish of the 159-kilometer (98.7-mile) ride and lifting up his bike before he stepped over the line.

“My legs gave me the answers I was searching for, and I didn’t look back until I’ve seen the arch of the finish” Rosa said.

Henao of Sky and Alberto Contador of Tinkoff crossed next, more than three minutes later, closely followed by defending champion Joaquim Rodriguez and Thibaut Pinot.

“I’ve fought really hard every day to take the leader’s jersey and I finally have it,” said Henao, who finished second overall to Rodriguez in last year’s race. “When me and Alberto (Contador) went to the front we both wanted to gain time ahead of tomorrow’s time trial and we worked well together.”

With only 12 seconds separating Henao and Rodriguez in fourth place, the four front-runners have a shot at winning the race in northern Spain on Saturday’s sixth and final stage, a 16.5-kilometer (10.25-mile) time trial around Eibar.

Samuel Sanchez was sixth on Friday, ahead of Nairo Quintana and Lawson Craddock.

Overnight leader Wilco Kelderman struggled on the final climb and fell to eighth place overall, trailing Henao by more than a minute.

“We gained time against some riders but the race remains still open,” Contador said. “We have to make sure our legs work well tomorrow and we’ll see what result we get.”

Rosa’s teammate and Astana leader Fabio Aru withdrew from the race after he fell and hurt his wrist. Besides the Spanish Vuelta champion, 2012 Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal was also among riders who quit during the demanding stage.
Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press

Davide Rebellin dies after hit by truck while training

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MILAN — Italian cyclist Davide Rebellin, one of the sport’s longest-serving professionals, died after being struck by a truck while training. He was 51.

Rebellin was riding near the town of Montebello Vicentino in northern Italy when he was hit by a truck near a motorway junction. The vehicle did not stop, although Italian media reported that the driver may have been unaware of the collision.

Local police are working to reconstruct the incident and find the driver.

Rebellin had only retired from professional cycling last month, bringing to an end a career that had spanned 30 years. He last competed for Work Service-Vitalcare-Dynatek and the UCI Continental team posted a tribute on its social media accounts.

“Dear Davide, keep pedaling, with the same smile, the same enthusiasm and the same passion as always,” the Italian team said. “This is not how we imagined the future together and it is not fair to have to surrender so suddenly to your tragic absence.”

“To your family, your loved ones, your friends and all the enthusiasts who, like us, are crying for you right now, we just want to say that we imagine you on a bicycle, looking for new roads, new climbs and new challenges even up there, in the sky.”

Rebellin’s successes included victories at Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico as well as winning a stage in the 1996 edition of the Giro d’Italia, which he also led for six stages.

Rebellin won silver in the road race at the 2008 Olympic Games, but he was later stripped of his medal and banned for two years after a positive doping test. He had denied wrongdoing.

CAS upholds Nairo Quintana DQ from Tour de France for opioid use

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The disqualification of two-time Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana from his sixth place in the 2022 race for misuse of an opioid was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAS said its judges dismissed Quintana’s appeal and agreed with the International Cycling Union that the case was a medical matter rather than a doping rules violation. He will not be banned.

The court said the judges ruled “the UCI’s in-competition ban on tramadol was for medical rather than doping reasons and was therefore within the UCI’s power and jurisdiction.”

Traces of the synthetic painkiller tramadol were found in two dried blood spot samples taken from the Colombian racer five days apart in July, the UCI previously said.

Quintana’s case is among the first to rely on the dried blood spot (DBS) method of collecting samples which the World Anti-Doping Agency approved last year.

Tramadol was banned in 2019 from use at cycling races because of potential side effects. They include the risk of addiction, dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention.

Quintana finished second in the Tour de France in 2013 and 2015, won both times by Chris Froome. He won the 2014 Giro d’Italia.