Daniel Martinez wins Critérium du Dauphiné for first time


MEGEVE, France — Colombian rider Daniel Martinez won the Criterium du Dauphine race for the first time after leader Primoz Roglic pulled out before Sunday’s final stage.

Martinez becomes the third Colombian to win the stage race – shortened slightly this year because of the coronavirus – after Martin Ramirez (1984) and Luis Herrera (1988 and 1991).

“It’s one of the most amazing days of my life, it’s one of the most important races and I’m just so happy to have achieved it,” Martinez said. “I’m still so tired from the race and still can’t quite believe that it’s happened. It’s incredible.”

The 24-year-old Martinez rides for the EF Pro Cycling team, which is headed by American CEO Jonathan Vaughters – a former climbing specialist who rode on the Tour de France.

Martinez dedicated the win to his family.

“Without doubt I want to say that this race is for all my family and my little boy, this win is for them,” he said. “This is for all the people who have believed in me and the ones who have helped support me.”

The Slovenian Roglic led Frenchman Thibaut Pinot by 14 seconds overnight but decided to abandon after crashing midway through Saturday’s penultimate stage.

That gave Pinot, who is expected to be among the contenders to win the upcoming Tour, an ideal chance. But it was Martinez who jumped from fifth overall to claim an unexpected victory, finishing 29 seconds ahead of Pinot overall and 41 clear of French rider Guillaume Martin.

“I failed in reaching the goal I had set myself this morning. I can only feel disappointed,” Pinot said. “I didn’t have the legs, I didn’t do what I needed to in order to win, I can only be angry with myself.”

American rider Sepp Kuss won the fifth and final stage itself, a 153.5-kilometer (95.2-mile) mountain trek which started and finished in the Alpine ski resort of Megeve.

Kuss won comfortably in 3 hours, 58 minutes, 39 seconds. Martinez was 27 seconds behind and Slovenian Tadej Pogacar 30 seconds back in third.

Another big-name rider pulled out on Sunday, with Colombian climbing ace Nairo Quintana deciding his knee pains were too much.

Quintana has won the Giro d’Italia and Spanish Vuelta, but has his heart set on winning the Tour.

He must now recover in time for the Aug. 29.-Sept. 20 race.

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.