Tour de France rescheduled to start Aug. 29 and end Sept. 20

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PARIS — The Tour de France has new dates, and it will be followed by cycling’s two other major races.

Because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, the iconic race around France will now start on Aug. 29 and finish on Sept. 20. The Giro d’Italia and the Spanish Vuelta, cycling’s two other Grand Tours, will take place after the French race.

The International Cycling Union announced the Tour’s new dates on Wednesday after consulting with race organizer Amaury Sport Organisation. The race was originally scheduled to start on June 27 in Nice.

It’s the first time since the end of World War II that the race is not starting in July.

“Holding this event in the best conditions possible is judged essential given its central place in cycling’s economy and its exposure,” the UCI said in a statement. “In particular for the teams that benefit on this occasion from unparalleled visibility.”

The race’s finish on the Champs-Elysees will coincide with the start of the rescheduled French Open tennis tournament a short distance away on the clay courts of Roland Garros in western Paris.

The UCI also announced that the dates for the world championships will stay from Sept. 20-27. They will be followed by the Giro, initially scheduled for May but previously called off, and the Spanish Vuelta, which is also owned by ASO and was to run from Aug. 14-Sept. 6.

No official dates were yet given for those two races.

The UCI said all the prestigious one-day road classics, including the Paris-Roubaix over the cobblestones, the Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Milan-San Remo, will go ahead. Dates were not given but the suspension of all races on the UCI calendar was extended one month to Aug. 1.

Postponing the initial Tour dates became inevitable when French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that all public events with large crowds would be canceled until at least mid-July.

It is unclear, however, if the two-month delay will be enough. Macron extended France’s lockdown to at least May 11, and the race would send hundreds of riders and team staff from around the world traveling across the country for three weeks.

Borders would have to be open, too, so racers like last year’s winner – Colombian rider Egan Bernal – can travel to France.

Wednesday’s decisions were taken following a video conference meeting organized by the UCI, with all the principal representatives of professional road cycling consulted.

UCI president David Lappartient praised them “for their collaboration and their commitment in these difficult times.”

“We still have work to do to finalize the establishment of an entirely revised 2020 UCI International Calendar given the coronavirus pandemic that has shaken the world,” Lappartient said, “but a first very important step has been taken today.”

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.