UCI president hopes Giro, other races can go ahead in autumn

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PARIS — The president of the International Cycling Union hopes the Giro d’Italia and other races postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak can go ahead later this year.

Four one-day classic races to be held next month were canceled this week. The Paris-Roubaix cobblestone race, the Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold race have all been called off.

The Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo were already postponed along with the Giro, which was to start on May 9.

UCI president David Lappartient told French television on Wednesday that he has “good hope” several races can still go ahead.

“In the coming days and weeks we will work on remodeling the calendar, depending on the evolution of the epidemic,” Lappartient told France TV. “The first possibility is to reprogram the monuments of cycling (the classics) for the autumn. For that we have the possibility of pushing back the end of the season by two weeks to Oct. 31.”

Most people quickly recover from the virus after experiencing only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks.

Lappartient said he is consulting with Italian race organizer RCS about holding the Giro “probably in autumn.”

The Giro would not start as scheduled from Hungary, he added, and the route may be redesigned and shorter. It was set to be the first time a Grand Tour visited Hungary, with the capital city of Budapest holding a stage starting from Heroes’ Square.

“The Giro is obviously part of our priorities and we have good hope to see it taking place,” Lappartient said. “With regards to the Tour (de France), for now nothing changes.”

ASO has yet to announce a decision on the three-week Tour, which is set to start in Nice on June 27.

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.