Lafay claims 1st pro victory, Valter keeps Giro d’Italia lead

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SANFRAMONDI, Italy — French cyclist Victor Lafay won the eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia for the first victory of his professional career and Attila Valter kept the pink jersey.

Lafay, who rides for Cofidis, attacked on the steep uphill finish of the 170-kilometer (106-mile) leg from Foggia to Sanframondi and soloed to victory.

Lafay raised his arms and beamed in delight as he crossed the line 36 seconds ahead of Francesco Gavazzi. Nikias Arndt was third, a second further back.

“I attacked in the last few kilometers and saw that no one was following me,” Lafay said. “I cannot believe it, I have just won a stage at the Giro!”

All three were part of a nine-man breakaway about a third of the way through the stage.

“I spent a lot of energy already in the first part of the stage to get into the breakaway,” Lafay said. “There were several attempts but the peloton didn’t leave much space. Then finally the breakaway went clear. Once the gap started to increase I was able to recover some energy.”

Valter finished safely in the peloton to remain 11 seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel overall, and 16 seconds ahead of Egan Bernal.

“It was a perfect day for me and for the team,” said Valter, the Hungarian who rides for Groupama-FDJ.

“Once the break went clear, we tried not to take any risks. It’s amazing to see all my teammates working for me and it’s fantastic to be able to wear the maglia rosa for another day.”

Caleb Ewan, who won the previous two stages, left the Giro halfway through the day. The Australian cyclist had always planned to leave the race before the finish in Milan and his Lotto Soudal team said he was feeling pain in his knee.

The ninth stage features another summit finish as well as three other categorized climbs, on the 158-kilometer (98-mile) route from Castel di Sangro to the ski resort of Campo Felice.

The Giro finishes on May 30 in Milan.

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.