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Cataldo wins Giro Stage 15 as Roglic crashes on borrowed bike

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COMO, Italy (AP) Astana rider Dario Cataldo has won the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia on a nightmare day for race favorite Primoz Roglic.

The Italian finished the 232-kilometer (144-mile) route from Ivrea to Como in 5 hours, 48 minutes, 15 seconds on Sunday. Mattia Cattaneo was second with the same time, and Simon Yates was 11 seconds behind in third.

Movistar rider Richard Carapaz of Ecuador increased his overall lead from seven to 47 seconds over Roglic, who had to borrow a teammate’s bike during the race. The Slovenian then crashed near the end, hitting a barrier on a turn during the descent of the Civiglio, and crossed the line with cuts on his face around 50 seconds behind Cataldo.

Another race favorite, Vincenzo Nibali, is third overall, 1:47 behind, after finishing sixth.

Sunday’s stage was mainly flat for the first 160 kilometers but had three categorized climbs in the final part of the stage.

Cataldo and Cattaneo had a two-man breakaway.

“I just followed Cattaneo’s attack,” Cataldo said. “Then I was confident in myself. To win a stage at the Giro d’Italia is amazing. It’s something I’ve been dreaming of all my life.”

The end of the stage followed many of the same roads used in the Giro di Lombardia single-day classic

The three-week race ends in Verona on June 2. Monday is a rest day.

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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