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Chaves wins Stage 19, Carapaz keeps Giro lead

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SAN MARTINO DI CASTROZZA, Italy (AP) Esteban Chaves secured an emotional victory on the 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Friday, and Ecuadorian cyclist Richard Carapaz remained in the overall lead.

Chaves earned his first win since being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus while competing in last year’s Giro and taking eight months off from racing.

“This is pure happiness,” Chaves said. “It takes a heavy weight off my back. It’s a relief to be a winner again. It shows I can do it.”

Chaves, a Colombian who rides for Mitchelton-Scott, crossed the line 10 seconds ahead of Italian cyclist Andrea Vendrame, who had two mechanical failures in the final 4 kilometers of the uphill finish to San Martino di Castrozza.

Amaro Antunes was third, 12 seconds behind Chaves at the end of the 151-kilometer route from Treviso.

The trio had been part of an 11-man breakaway that escaped early in the stage and Chaves whittled down with a series of attacks on the final climb.

“Because the last climb wasn’t very steep, I had to attack many, many times,” Chaves said. “A big thank you to everyone who supported me when I had a hard time.”

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

“It’s another good day for us and we’re looking forward to tomorrow,” Carapaz said. “We’re ready to defend the Maglia Rosa in a harder stage than today.”

The penultimate stage Saturday is the last chance Carapaz’s rivals have to gain significant time on the Movistar cyclist ahead of the final time trial in Verona on Sunday.

The 20th stage is the last mountain leg, with five long, categorized climbs in the Dolomites along the 194-kilometer route from Feltre to Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena.

This story has been corrected to show it was Stage 19 of the Giro, not Stage 18.

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.