World champion Ganna wins opening time trial at Giro

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PALERMO, Sicily — Newly crowned world champion Filippo Ganna, competing in his first Grand Tour, stormed to a dominant victory in the opening stage time trial of the rescheduled Giro d’Italia on Saturday in front of his home fans.

Ganna, an Italian who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, beat Joao Almeida by 22 seconds on the 15.1-kilometer (9.4-mile) downhill time trial in Palermo.

Mikkel Bjerg was third with the same time as Almeida.

Geraint Thomas, who also rides for Ineos Grenadiers, was fastest of the overall favorites. The British rider was fourth, 23 seconds behind Ganna but at least 26 seconds ahead of his main rivals.

Ganna recently became the first Italian to win the men’s time trial at the road cycling world championships, which were also held in Italy.

The 24-year-old will now swap that rainbow jersey for the pink colored one that the overall leader of the Giro wears.

“Today I knew was one of the hot favorites but I tried to stay calm,” Ganna said. “We did it, what a great result and what a thrill to wear the Maglia Rosa on my first Giro, which is a good omen for the rest of the race.”

There were several crashes on the course, with the riders affected by strong winds. Victor Campenaerts also complained about the road surface after crashing but managing to finish the stage with a bloodied leg.

Miguel Angel Lopez was taken away in an ambulance after he fell.

Sunday’s second stage also takes place on the island of Sicily and is a hilly 149-kilometer (92.6-mile) route from Alcamo to Agrigento.

The race ends on Oct. 25 with an individual time trial in Milan.

The Giro was originally scheduled to start with three stages in Hungary and run from May 9-31, but it was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

Filippo Ganna breaks cycling’s hour world record

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GRENCHEN, Switzerland — Time trial specialist Filippo Ganna broke cycling’s hour record when he covered 56.792 kilometers in 60 minutes.

The Italian extended the record by more than 1.2 kilometers, the biggest jump in seven years.

Asked to describe the pain of the last five minutes, he said, “I lost energy to try to go for 57, but nothing (in the legs).”

He said he was open to another attempt at a different time of the season, when he was fresher.

Ganna took the record from British teammate Dan Bigham, who made his mark at the same Swiss velodrome on Aug. 19.