Giro contender Yates tests positive for virus and withdraws

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GIOVINAZZO, Italy — Overall contender Simon Yates has withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, his Mitchelton-Scott team announced before Saturday’s eighth stage.

The 28-year-old British rider “developed very mild symptoms” after Friday’s Stage 7, the team said. An immediate rapid test showed a positive result, which was confirmed in a second test.

Yates “was isolated in his single room during the process and is being safely transported by organized ambulance for a period of quarantine where the team can offer its best possible care. His symptoms remain very mild,” the team added.

Yates won the Tirreno-Adriatico warmup race last month. He was in 21st place overall, 3 minutes, 52 seconds behind race leader Joao Almeida.

Yates unexpectedly lost significant time in the climb up Mount Etna during Stage 3 on Monday.

“Simon displayed a very mild temperature on Friday evening during our routine temperature checks, which have been completed three times per day during the course of the Giro,” Mitchelton-Scott team physician Matteo Beltemacchi said. “We immediately requested a rapid test using the services offering by RCS (the race organizers).

“Thankfully his symptoms remain very mild and he is otherwise in good health,” Beltemacchi continued. “All other riders and staff have returned negative results and have been cleared to continue the race, but as a precautionary measure we will monitor the situation closely and undergo further testing in the coming days.”

Yates’ withdrawal deprives the race of another contender after Geraint Thomas withdrew after breaking his pelvis in a fall during Stage 3.

Italy recorded one of its highest single-day totals of COVID-19 infections since the start of the outbreak on Friday, adding 5,372 cases and 28 new deaths to its official toll.

The Health Ministry said Friday that northern Lombardy, the onetime European epicenter of the pandemic, added the most new cases at 983.

The race ends Oct. 25 in Milan – the capital of Lombardy.

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.