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Carapaz wins 7th stage as Yates maintains Giro d’Italia lead

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MONTEVERGINE, Italy (AP) Richard Carapaz pulled off a superb final attack to win the eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday, and British rider Simon Yates remained in the overall lead after the second mountain finish.

Carapaz stormed the end of the final climb to pass Koen Bouwman, who led for most of the day. The Movistar cyclist claimed his first win in a Grand Tour, and the first for Ecuador.

Davide Formolo led the peloton over the line to finish second, seven seconds behind. Thibaut Pinot was third.

“I worked a lot before the Giro,” Carapaz said. “Having the first Grand Tour win, it’s emotional.

“I had good legs, so I decided to attack from far out, two kilometers to go. I decided it was the right time to go alone, because I knew I couldn’t win in a sprint.”

There was an early break of eight cyclists, and Mads Pedersen was dropped before the halfway stage.

The gap to the remaining seven hovered around the five-minute mark before the peloton began to reel them in.

Their advantage stood at just over two minutes as they started up the 15-kilometer climb to the finish, with the rain lashing down, and they were eventually caught.

Bouwman, who attacked from the breakaway early in the climb, was the last to be swept up as Carapaz passed him in the final kilometer.

The general classification was unchanged and Yates, who won the young rider classification at last year’s Tour de France, retained his 16-second advantage over defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

“We wanted to be in front for the climb,” Yates said. “We knew because of the rain in the final, the hairpins would be very slippery. We wanted to take them in the front. We rode an even tempo. It was a very hard start, so maybe the breakaway didn’t have good enough legs to stay away.

“Maybe I would have liked to take some bonus seconds in the final, but I got a little boxed in and I couldn’t get out to sprint. It’s one of those things.”

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome also finished in the main group despite being involved in another crash which left him with a bloody elbow. He remained 1 minute, 10 seconds behind, but slipped to ninth place.

Sunday’s ninth stage has another mountain finish, at the end of a 225-kilometer (140-mile) route from Pesco Sannita up to Gran Sasso d’Italia.

The Giro ends in Rome on May 27.

Alaphilippe wins Milan-San Remo for seventh win of season

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French rider Julian Alaphilippe confirmed his status as the top cyclist so far this season by winning the Milan-San Remo classic on Saturday.

Alaphilippe, who rides for the Quick-Step team, edged Oliver Naesen of AG2R and Michal Kwiatkowski of Team Sky in a 10-man sprint at the end of the 291-kilometer (181-mile) route along the Italian Riviera.

Three-time world champion Peter Sagan finished fourth.

It was Alaphilippe’s seventh win this season, adding to his Strade Bianche title this month and stage wins in the Vuelta a San Juan (2), Tour of Colombia, and Tirreno-Adriatico (2).

Alaphilippe attacked on the final climb up the Poggio and was followed by a small group of other elite riders to set up the sprint. He finished with a time of nearly seven hours.

“I will need some time to realize what I have achieved today,” Alaphilippe said. “We made the race hard and I stayed focused. … I made no mistake. It’s unbelievable.”

Fausto Masnada, the last remaining rider from an early 10-man breakaway, was caught with 25 kilometers to go.

Britain’s richest man becomes new sponsor of Team Sky

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LONDON — Britain’s richest man has bought the Team Sky cycling team, which will be renamed Team Ineos.

Jim Ratcliffe, who is the chairman of chemicals giant Ineos, is reported by the Sunday Times rich list as being worth 21 billion dollars (18.5 million euros).

Ineos pledged in a statement on Tuesday to honor all “existing commitments to riders, staff and partners.”

The team’s launch takes place at the Tour de Yorkshire which starts in Doncaster on May 2.

Sky’s long-time team principal Dave Brailsford welcomed the move, saying “it ends the uncertainty around the team” and “represents a huge vote of confidence in our future.”

Sky has won six of the past seven Tour de France races, with Chris Froome winning four times and Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas winning it once.

British broadcaster Sky announced its withdrawal from the sport last December following the European pay TV giant’s takeover by American company Comcast.