AP Photo

Cima gets 1st pro win on Stage 18; Carapaz keeps Giro lead

Leave a comment

SANTA MARIA DI SALA, Italy (AP) Damiano Cima of Italy earned his first professional victory by winning the 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday, and Ecuadorian cyclist Richard Carapaz remained in the overall lead.

Cima, who rides for Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane, had been part of a three-man breakaway which was caught by the peloton in the final meters of the mainly downhill, 222-kilometer (138-mile) route from Valdaora to Santa Maria di Sala.

However, the 25-year-old Cima held on in the bunch sprint to get his team’s first ever Giro victory, in his first Grand Tour.

“I can’t believe what just happened,” Cima said. “I’ve spent so many kilometers in breakaways during this Giro. I thought I’d never make it but I’ve won today. It’s insane. It’s the dream of a lifetime.”

Pascal Ackermann was second, with Simone Consonni third. Ackermann, who was bidding for a third stage victory in this year’s race, hit his handlebars in frustration as he was pipped to the line by Cima.

“For sure I’m a little disappointed I did not win,” Ackermann said. “If you saw how the breakaway went, for sure he’s a lucky winner today. He was the strongest today. They were fighting really hard against our team when they were pulling.”

Carapaz remained 1 minute, 54 seconds ahead of Vincenzo Nibali and 2:16 ahead of Primoz Roglic of Slovenia.

“It’s been a quiet stage but a long one, intense at the beginning only,” said Carapaz, who rides for Movistar. “I’ve had a good support from my team again. Tomorrow will be an important test but I’m confident to keep the Maglia Rosa.”

The Giro heads back into the mountains for Friday’s 18th stage, a 151-kilometer route from Treviso, with an uphill finish to San Martino di Castrozza.

The three-week race finishes in Verona on Sunday.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Hermans wins Tour of Utah with strong ride in final stage

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.