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Masnada wins Stage 6 of Giro; Conti takes overall lead

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SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy — Fausto Masnada of Italy claimed his first victory in a Grand Tour by winning the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday while compatriot Valerio Conti seized the overall lead from Primoz Roglic, who was involved in an early crash.

The Italian duo were in a two-man breakaway for nearly 30 kilometers and Conti then allowed Masnada to grab the stage win without contesting the sprint, knowing he would take over the leader’s pink jersey.

“It’s a lot of joy. I’m really happy. I knew I was on form but winning a stage is really difficult and I did it,” said Masnada, who rides for Androni. “I want to dedicate this win to my uncle who died just before I left for the Giro. I managed to see him and I promised him I would get a stage win for him and I did.”

The two had pulled away from an original 12-man breakaway which went early on the 238-kilometer (148-mile) route from Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo after a crash slowed down the peloton briefly.

Roglic, who had worn the maglia rosa since winning the opening time trial on Saturday, was involved in the crash but the Slovenian cyclist was not seriously injured. However, he did tear his shorts and had scratches and cuts on his right buttock.

Jose Rojas finished third, 38 seconds behind Masnada.

Roglic and the other major favorites crossed the line more than seven minutes behind Conti and are now more than five minutes behind the UAE Team Emirates cyclist in the overall standings.

Conti is 1 minute, 41 seconds ahead of compatriot Giovanni Carboni and 2:09 ahead of Nans Peters of France.

The 26-year-old Conti will be the first Italian to wear the maglia rosa since Vincenzo Nibali in 2016 – the year he went on to claim his second Giro title.

“I was targeting both stage win and maglia rosa but Fausto Masnada is an incredibly strong rider,” Conti said. “I’m very happy with what I got. For an Italian rider, it’s fantastic. This is my first time leading a stage race. I’m thrilled.”

Friday’s seventh stage is a hilly, 185-kilometer route from Vasto to L’Aquila.

The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.

Hermans wins Tour of Utah with strong ride in final stage

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PARK CITY, Utah — Ben Hermans finished near the front once more in the final stage of the Tour of Utah on Sunday, allowing him to wrap up the overall title after taking second in the week-long race a year ago.

Joe Dombrowski won the finale, an 83-mile trek that began and ended in Park City, with 24 seconds to spare over a chase group led by Joao Almeida. Herman and Keegan Swirbul were another two seconds back with James Piccoli, one of the main instigators all week, rounding out the top five.

The finish was enough to give Hermans, riding for the Israel Cycling Academy, a 50-second margin over Piccoli with Dombrowski another 42 seconds back in third place.

The 33-year-old Hermans has experienced something of a rejuvenation this season. He won a stage and the overall at the Tour of Austria before taking the second and third stages in Utah.

“It’s really amazing,” the Belgian said. “I’ve been fourth, second last year, and to win – finally first. I really enjoy it here. It’s amazing to ride for these crowds and to be there on the podium in the yellow jersey is really, really nice.”

Travis McCabe won the white jersey awarded to the race’s top sprinter. Piccolli was crowned most aggressive rider, Almeida was top young rider and Hayden McCormick won the mountains classification.

Italian cycling great Felice Gimondi dies at age 76

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ROME == Felice Gimondi, one of only seven cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours, has died. He was 76.

The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) said efforts to resuscitate Gimondi failed after the Italian suffered a heart attack while swimming on vacation in Sicily on Friday and died the same day.

Gimondi won the Tour de France in 1965 as a 22-year-old in his first year as a professional. He went on to win the Giro d’Italia in 1967, 1969 and 1976, and the Spanish Vuelta in 1968.

“Felice was one of the greatest champions to win great tours, a world championship and important classics while contesting, he alone, Eddy Merckx,” FCI president Renato Di Rocco said. “A great man who marked an era. Italian cycling mourns the passing of one of its pillars.”

Five-time Tour de France winner Merckx told Italian news agency ANSA, “A man like Gimondi is not born every day. With him goes a piece of my life. He was among the greatest ever.”

The other cyclists to win all three Grand Tours are Belgian rider Merckx, Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault of France, Alberto Contador of Spain, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and Britain’s Chris Froome.