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Silvan Dillier wins Stage 6 of Giro d’Italia

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TERME LUIGIANE, Italy — Silvan Dillier won from an early breakaway to take the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday while Bob Jungels retained the overall lead.

Dillier began his sprint with 150 meters to go on the climb to the finish and the BMC Racing rider had the power to hold off Jasper Stuyven, who banged his bars in anger and frustration as he crossed the line half a wheel behind the Swiss cyclist.

Lukas Postlberger, who won the opening stage, was third, 12 seconds behind the front two at the end of the 217-kilometer (135-mile) route from Reggio Calabria to Terme Luigiane as the race moved to mainland Italy.

The trio was part of a five-man breakaway shortly after the start and swiftly built a lead of nearly nine minutes on the peloton.

Stuyven’s Trek-Segafredo teammate, Mads Pedersen, was the first to drop off, and shortly afterward Simone Andreetta as the front three pulled away with less than six kilometers remaining.

Andreetta finished 26 seconds behind Dillier, with Michael Woods leading the general classification contenders over the line 13 seconds later.

Jungels, of Luxembourg, maintained his six-second advantage over Geraint Thomas of Wales. Fellow Briton Adam Yates remained four seconds further back, with most of the overall favorites.

The seventh stage on Friday is a mainly flat 224-kilometer (139-mile) route from Castrovillari to Alberobello, with an undulating final 40 kilometers.

The Giro ends on May 28.

Bernal lifts injury-hit Team INEOS with Tour de Suisse title

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ULRICHEN, Switzerland (AP) In a rough month for Team INEOS, Egan Bernal lifted the British squad with overall victory Sunday in the nine-day Tour de Suisse.

Bernal came to Switzerland to support team leader Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France champion, who crashed out in a nasty fall on Tuesday.

Thomas’ accident followed teammate and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome suffering season-ending injuries in a training crash in France.

Bernal is still slated to start the Tour de France on July 6 as Thomas’ top aide, though this confirmed race-winning potential after his Paris-Nice title in March.

The 22-year-old Colombian finished 19 seconds ahead of Rohan Dennis overall after they finished Sunday’s stage together, 1 minute, 2 seconds behind Hugh Carthy’s solo breakaway on snow-lined roads.

Bernal was 3:04 clear overall of third-place Patrick Konrad.

Tour director says race won’t be same without Froome

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PARIS — The Tour de France just won’t be the same without four-time champion Chris Froome in the field, race director Christian Prudhomme told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Froome was injured last week in a crash in France that left him with multiple fractures. He let go of his handlebars to blow his nose and hit a wall at speed.

“Clearly, it changes things,” Prudhomme said. “The Tour de France with Chris Froome and without is not the same thing. He has been the central character since, we’ll say, 2013.

“So other scenarios are going to open up.”

Defending champion Geraint Thomas was also hurt in a crash this week at the Tour de Suisse. The 33-year-old Welshman required stitches above his eye but he is still expecting to defend his title.

“Luckily I’m all ok,” Thomas wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “It just means I’ll need some big training rides next week now.”

The setback cast further uncertainty over Team INEOS, formerly known as Team Sky, which has won six of the last seven Tours. Bradley Wiggins won in 2012, while Froome took the title 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and Thomas last year.

But with Froome out and Thomas recovering, that could open the door for 22-year-old teammate Egan Bernal.

“Of course, Dave Brailsford’s team will weigh on the Tour de France, as in previous years. But will it do so to such an extent and in the same way?” Prudhomme asked. “I imagine that he, Dave Brailsford, is asking himself lots of questions, too.

“Who will be the leader? The evidence, logic, dictates it will be Geraint Thomas, of course,” Prudhomme said. “But will that still be the case after his crash? There are lots of question marks. But we know that Egan Bernal is ready, it seems to me.”

After an impressive win at the Paris-Nice race in March, the Colombian then also crashed in training in May. He broke his collarbone, ruling him out of the Giro d’Italia. But he is racing at the Tour de Suisse and Prudhomme expects that the mountainous terrain of the Tour will play to Bernal’s climbing strengths. This year’s Tour will be the first with three stages that finish on summits above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), where the thin air will sap riders.

“We’re going very high this year,” Prudhomme said. “But nearly all of us believe that the Colombians won’t be less strong at 2,000 meters and Bernal, obviously, is Colombian.

“At first glance, on paper, it cannot be unfavorable for Bernal,” he added. “He is super-talented in the mountains. He can attack from far out.”

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