Garrison, Neben win U.S. time trial cycling championships

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Ian Garrison knew that the heat wave in Tennessee could wreak havoc on the field at the U.S. time trial championships, particularly when riders were on their final lap.

Turns out he paced himself perfectly.

The 21-year-old from Decatur, Georgia, finished in just over 42 minutes, 58 seconds on Thursday, making up a slight deficit to Neilsen Powless over the third and final lap. Garrison’s cushion wound up being 19 seconds over Powless, while George Simpson took bronze.

“The heat was going to be a big factor because it really gets you toward the end,” said Garrison, who rides for the U.S.-based Hagens Berman Axeon team. “You feel fine at the beginning and at the end it’s so much easier to blow up in the heat.”

Also mastering the heat? Amber Neben.

She cruised to her third consecutive title in the women’s time trial, finishing two laps over the same course in 30:19 to top Chloe Dygert Owen by 36 seconds. Leah Thomas finished third.

As usual, many of the biggest names in American cycling were absent in anticipation of a possible Tour de France start. That includes two-time and defending champion Joey Rosskopf, three-time winner Taylor Phinney and time trial specialists such as Chad Haga and Brent Bookwalter.

Garrison, who finished 11th in the race against the clock a year ago, took advantage of it.

He was fourth from the end rolling out but quickly laid down a fast time, and Garrison was still in the mix when Powless and Warbasse hit the course after him.

Powless had the fastest time at the first checkpoint, nearly 10 seconds faster than Garrison, but watched his lead dwindle to 1.36 seconds by the completion of the second lap. Powless faded even more on the final lap, allowing Garrison to win his first elite national championship.

“I didn’t have a radio but they said in the car that my split was good,” Garrison said, “and then the last lap they said I was 1 seconds behind Neilson, so in my head it kind of freaked me out a bit. But I tried not to think about it too much and tried to push what I could for the last lap.”

It turned out to be enough as Garrison made a bold statement to the selectors who will begin to scrutinize results in advance of the world championships and next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“So much of it was preparation,” Garrison said. “You just go out there and do the best you can. It’s all the work the past few months of coming out here, reconning, thinking about it. It’s trying to make sure you don’t blow up, don’t overthink it and do the best you can.”

As the reigning champion, Neben was the final rider out of the starting gate for the women’s race, and she already led Thomas by more than 20 seconds by the intermediate time check.

Not that Neben, a two-time time trial world champion, would have known.

“I don’t time trial with a radio,” she said. “My philosophy is essentially, `I’m going as hard as I can, so what can someone tell me? Go harder?’ It’s more a distraction for me.”

Neben’s second lap along the Melton Hill Reservoir near Knoxville was only slightly slower than her first, and that was more than enough to deliver her fourth national title.

“I didn’t feel very good,” said Neben, who also has eight runner-up finishes. “It’s a special day to win. It’s really hard to win. So I don’t take anything for granted.”

Owen has struggled with injuries since her breakout performance at the 2015 world championships, but she’s finally feeling healthy again. And while she had aimed for the top step of the podium, the heat combined with a malfunction of her race radio conspired against her.

“Those aren’t excuses. I did what I could with how I prepared,” she said. “Of course I’d like to be on the top step, but this is the first season in three years I’ve been injury-free. This is a goal, but the end goal is obviously the world championships and next year’s Olympics.”

The road world championships continue Friday night with the men’s and women’s criteriums through downtown Knoxville. The men’s and women’s road races take place Sunday.

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.