Cyclist gets 9-month ban for crash that left rival in coma

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AIGLE, Switzerland — Cyclist Dylan Groenewegen was banned from racing for nine months on Wednesday for causing a sprint-finish crash that left a rival in a coma and with severe facial injuries.

The International Cycling Union said its disciplinary panel ruled Groenewegen cannot compete again until May 7. He will miss the spring season of one-day classic races plus week-long races including Paris-Nice, where he has won stages in previous seasons.

“The crash in the first stage of the Tour of Poland will forever be a black page in my career,” the Dutch rider said in a statement published by his Jumbo-Visma team.

Groenewegen, who has four Tour de France stage wins in his career, veered right in a sprint to the finish line on Aug. 5, forcing Fabio Jakobsen to crash into roadside barriers.

Jakobsen was awarded the stage win after Groenewegen was disqualified. He was treated in a medically induced coma and left needing reconstructive surgery on his face and jaw.

The UCI said Groenewegen “acknowledged that he deviated from his line and committed a violation” of race rules.

“I hope this has been a wise lesson for every sprinter,” Groenewegen said. “I follow the news of Fabio’s recovery very closely. I can only hope that one day he will return completely.”

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.