Amstel Gold Race canceled amid tougher virus restrictions

Getty Images
3 Comments

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The only Dutch cycling classic, the Amstel Gold Race, has been canceled due to the measures aimed at reining in the rapid spread of the coronavirus, organizers said Wednesday.

The Dutch government this week banned supporters at all sports events amid soaring rates of infections across the country.

The men’s and women’s Amstel Gold Races were to have been staged Oct. 10 after being postponed from the spring racing season because of the pandemic.

Organizers already had planned to drastically change the event, limiting riders to racing around a 16.9-kilometer circuit in the hilly southern province of Limburg instead of around a longer route that passed through 10 different municipalities.

Despite the changes, local mayors and security officials came to the conclusion that they could not guarantee that no public would attend the popular race, race director Leo van Vliet said in a statement.

“It is extremely unpleasant for the organization, which, together with the municipalities and the Safety Region, have done everything to ensure that the Amstel Gold Race proceeds safely,” said Jan Schrijen, mayor of the municipality of Valkenburg aan de Geul.

Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel won last year’s Amstel Gold Race.

Late Tuesday night, the Dutch stages of the BinckBank Tour were canceled because of the tougher coronavirus restrictions on crowds. The race, which was planned with stages in both the Netherlands and Belgium, continued on a hastily re-arranged schedule only in Belgium.

The event’s time trial had been planned for Wednesday in the southern Dutch city of Vlissingen.

Davide Rebellin dies after hit by truck while training

Getty Images
3 Comments

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

Getty Images
17 Comments

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.