Van Garderen takes over Tour of California lead after Stage 2

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Kasper Asgreen held back as Tejay van Garderen shredded the remnants of the breakaway on the final climb, then swung past him to win the second stage of the Tour of California on Monday.

Van Garderen wound up being the big winner anyway.

The American rider for EF Education First put serious time into the other overall contenders with his gritty push toward the finish line near Lake Tahoe. He wound up slipping on the leader’s jersey by six seconds over Gianni Moscon with Asgreen another second back in third place.

“Feels great,” said van Garderen, who won the overall race in 2013 but has weathered plenty of ups and downs in his career since that point. “I mean, it came as a bit of a surprise. I just would have assumed Kasper would have taken the jersey on the back of his stage win. I don’t know what happened to him yesterday. But it’s quite a surprise.”

Van Garderen predicted that many riders would sleep on the 133-mile second stage with higher elevations still to come in the week-long race. The ride began in Rancho Cordova and took riders to the Heavenly Ski Resort, a well-known finishing stretch for the Tour of California.

But the long, lumpy stage still took riders to altitude after a pancake flat opening stage around downtown Sacramento, and it quickly shredded the peloton on a long day in the saddle.

Eventually, a selection of 10 riders broke away from the field to contest the final climb.

Astana’s Davide Ballerini was the first to attack at the base of the mile-long final climb, but he was quickly reeled back. Van Garderen then stood up in his pedals and dropped four riders from the last group, then stood again and sent three more riders off the back.

“I made the initial attack and usually if they have the legs they’ll jump over me,” he said. “I kept looking back and when they didn’t jump I thought, `OK, they might not have the best legs.”‘

Moscon pulled slightly ahead on a brief flat section, then van Garderen attempted to kick one more time heading into the final corner. But after laying back throughout the climb, Asgreen summoned just enough strength to power ahead of his American rival to claim the stage win.

“It was a little longer than I wanted it to be and I had to go all the way to the line,” he said of the finishing kick. “It’s my first pro win so I’m very happy right now, and to take it on a stage like this, I’m really happy with it.”

Asgreen, who rides for Deceuninck-Quick-Step, and van Garderen were given the same time while Moscon finished four seconds later for Team Ineos.

“It was a very hard stage,” the Italian rider said. “It’s not easy to go to the finish line. We tried to do our best and in the final I didn’t have the legs.”

Asgreen got a 10-second time bonus for his first WorldTour win, while van Garderen’s runner-up finish gave him a six-second bonus – time that could prove crucial on the stages still to come.

The third stage Wednesday takes riders 126 miles from Stockton to Morgan Hill, and includes about 10,000 feet in additional climbing. It also includes a climb up Mt. Hamilton late in the stage, then a quick, tense descent to the finish line.

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.