Alaphilippe, Van der Breggen win Flèche Wallonne races

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HUY, Belgium — Julian Alaphilippe earned his third victory in the Flèche Wallonne one-day classic, overtaking Spanish Vuelta champion Primoz Roglič on the final ascent to the finish line.

Roglič, the Tour de France runner-up, attacked up the grueling Mur de Huy about 350 meters out but couldn’t hold off the 28-year-old Frenchman, who also won in 2018 and ’19.

The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider finished the 194-kilometer (120-mile) course in 4 hours, 36 minutes, 25 seconds. Roglič was credited with the same time and five-time winner Alejandro Valverde of Spain was third, six seconds back.

Alaphilippe, the world champion, wagged his finger and smiled after edging the Slovenian at the finish of the 85th edition of the race. Other three-time winners include Belgian great Eddy Merckx.

“It’s the legs that make the difference on this hard climb,” said Alaphilippe, who will now prepare for the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race. “It wasn’t easy with Roglic out front and Valverde on my wheel. Both were very strong but I managed to pull it off.”

Roglič, making his Flèche Wallonne debut, deflected questions about whether he attacked too early.

“Too early or too late – at the end I was not strong enough. Julian was stronger today,” he said. “I did my best. He was strongest and deserves to win.”

Valverde, who turns 41, said he was “happy to have finished on the podium.”

The peloton swallowed up the last of a breakaway group with only 1.5 kilometers left when French rider Maurits Lammertink was caught at the bottom of the Mur de Huy.

Before the race, Tour de France champion Tadej Pogacar and defending champion Marc Hirschi were last-minute withdrawals after their UAE Team Emirates team had two positive coronavirus tests, even though the team was previously vaccinated.

In the women’s race, world champion Anna van der Breggen won for the seventh straight time by outclimbing Kasia Niewiadoma on the final ascent.

“I think it was the most difficult one. I’m really happy to finish it off like that,” the 31-year-old Dutch rider said.

Last year’s Flèche Wallonne was pushed back to September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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.