Vini Zabù team withdraws from Giro d’Italia after doping cases

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MILAN — Italian cycling team Vini Zabu withdrew from the Giro d’Italia while awaiting a decision from the UCI over a possible suspension because of two doping cases.

The team said the decision comes “despite showing to the relevant bodies (we) have adopted the most strict measures” to fight doping.

It adds that an “internal investigation has confirmed” the innocence of its athletes and the entire team regarding “any unfair practice.”

The UCI said last month that Matteo De Bonis has been provisionally suspended pending a disciplinary case after testing positive for the blood-boosting hormone EPO in a sample taken on Feb. 16.

De Bonis was targeted for testing during training by the Lausanne-based International Testing Agency, the UCI said.

Vini Zabu also had rider Matteo Spreafico test positive twice for the trial drug ostarine in October at last year’s Giro.

The UCI said it would “shortly refer the matter to the disciplinary commission which will render a decision in due course.”

Teams with two doping cases in a 12-month period can be banned from racing for 15 to 45 days. The three-week Giro starts on May 8.

The team said it asked De Bonis to cooperate with the authorities and turn the case into an instrument that can fight against “organizations that make deals with the trade of banned substances.”

It adds that the Giro withdrawal “is an act of love for cycling.”

Zabu received a wild-card invitation to the Giro and race organizer RCS announced later that the slot would go to the Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team instead.

Norway takes gold-medal lead at world road cycling titles

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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Soren Waerenskjold repeated Norway’s gold medal success at the world road cycling championships a day after Tobias Foss finished first in the elite men’s time trial.

Waerenskjold won the men’s under-23 time trial on the second day of the championships with a dominant performance. He clocked 34 minutes, 13.40 seconds over the 28.8-kilometer course to beat Belgian Alec Segaert by 16.34 seconds.

British rider Leo Hayter, the younger brother of elite rider Ethan Hayter, was 24.16 seconds off the pace for the bronze medal.

Foss beat a strong field to win the elite time trial, the biggest win of his career.

Norway has two gold medals, while Dutch ace Ellen van Dijk beat Australian Grace Brown to take out the women’ elite time trial.

The mixed relay time trial is set for Wednesday. The championships conclude on the weekend with the women’s road race on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday.

Ellen van Dijk defends time trial title at cycling worlds

95th UCI Road World Championships 2022 - Women Individual Time Trial
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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Ellen van Dijk defended her title and claimed a third women’s time trial gold medal at the opening event of the world road cycling championships on Sunday.

Taking advantage of a technical course the Dutch star maintained a perfectly paced cadence to beat Australia’s Grace Brown by 12.79 seconds to defend the time trial gold she won last year. Swiss rival Marlen Reusser took bronze.

Local favorite Brown was one of the early staters and set a blistering time around the 34.2 kilometer (21.3 miles) course at the scenic coastal town center of Wollongong, south of Sydney.

No other in the 45-strong field could get close to Brown’s time of 44 minutes 41.33 seconds until the final pair of van Dijk and Reusser, who claimed silver at last year’s world championships in Belgium, both clocked faster at the first time check.

Reusser then faded to finish more than 41 seconds off Brown’s time, but van Dijk powered on to claim her third gold medal in a time of 44:28.60.

Olympic time trial champion and two-time world champion Annemiek van Vleuten finished seventh, more than 90 seconds behind compatriot van Dijk.

Later Sunday, Vuelta a Espana winner Remco Evenepoel from Belgium, Italian two-time defending world champion Filippo Ganna and two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar from Slovenia headline the men’s event.

Other major races are the mixed relay time trial on Wednesday and the women’s road race next Saturday before the men’s race on the closing day Sunday, with local star and Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley racing the clock to recover from COVID-19 to take his place in the race.