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Elia Viviani wins European championships road race

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ALKMAAR, Netherlands — Elia Viviani of Italy capped an already successful summer with victory in the road race at the European championships on Sunday.

Viviani won a two-man sprint ahead of Yves Lampaert of Belgium after crosswinds played havoc with the peloton during the final 11 laps of the 165-kilometer (102.5-mile) race in Alkmaar.

Pascal Ackermann of Germany finished third, eight seconds behind his breakaway companions.

Viviani’s Italian teammates worked hard throughout the day and caused the split that left a group of 13 riders at the front before the leading trio moved away from the pack with two laps to go.

“I think we did a completely different tactic from what we were thinking this morning,” Viviani said. “This morning we were thinking about the sprint, but then we wanted to make the race hard.”

With Viviani the best sprinter in the group, Lampaert attacked with 3.5 kilometers left to leave Ackermann and Viviani in his wake. Viviani waited patiently on Ackermann’s wheel then surged ahead to close the gap with Lampaert, his Deceuninck-Quick Step teammate on the World Tour.

Lampaert launched the final sprint but quickly stopped his effort when Viviani passed him with ease. Less than a week after Belgian rider Bjorg Lambrecht died following a crash during the Tour of Poland, Viviani pointed a finger to the sky as he celebrated his win, then crossed himself.

“It’s one of my best wins,” said Viviani, who won the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic last weekend and won a Tour de France stage last month. “It was totally different from a bunch sprint. After a Grand Tour, I always have a lot of resistance and big legs.”

Alexander Kristoff won the main peloton sprint to finish fourth.

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.

Marco Canola wins sprint to take stage at Tour of Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY — Marco Canola jumped ahead of the sprinters left from a reduced bunch, holding off Travis McCabe and Brendan Rhim to win Friday night’s criterium-like stage in the Tour of Utah.

The stage in the state capital covered eight laps of just under seven miles apiece, yet the field came together on a steep ascent inside of a mile to go. James Piccoli surged to the front in search of a win that has eluded him all week, but Canola swept past everyone to pick up the win.

Ben Hermans held onto his overall lead by 44 seconds. Piccoli remained in second place.

Hayden McCormick made an embarrassing mistake when he surged to the front at the conclusion of the penultimate lap, then threw his arms in the air in celebration thinking he had won.

The stage Saturday takes riders 80 miles, starting and finishing in Park City.