Egan Bernal claims 1st Giro d’Italia stage win to move into overall lead

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CAMPO FELICE, Italy — Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal showed just why he is one of the favorites to win the Giro d’Italia as he stormed to victory during Stage 9 to also claim the leader’s pink jersey.

Bernal, who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, attacked with about 500 meters remaining on the summit finish in the first top-categorized climb of this year’s race. Bernal passed the two previous leaders to claim his first stage win in a Grand Tour.

It is the first year Bernal has participated in the Italian race.

“I’ve already cried twice,” an emotional Bernal said immediately afterward. “I cannot believe what just happened, I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour. I made a lot of sacrifices to get where I am now.

“I was thinking I would do well today but I was not sure whether I could have won the stage. My teammates had a lot of confidence in me, they told me I could do it. This victory is for them, they really believe in me.”

Bernal had come close to a stage victory in the 2019 Tour de France – which he won – as he was leading Stage 19 when it was abruptly cut short by a violent hailstorm and landslide. Times were taken from the top of what proved to be the final climb and there was no official stage winner.

The 24-year-old Bernal finally got his win on Sunday as he finished seven seconds ahead of Giulio Ciccone and Aleksandr Vlasov at the end of the 158-kilometer (98-mile) route from Castel di Sangro to the ski resort of Campo Felice. The stage featured three other categorized climbs as well as the final tough ascent on gravel roads.

There was a scare on the descent of the first climb of the day as Matej Mohoric lost his balance and crashed, landing on his head and snapping his bicycle in two. The Slovenian cyclist swiftly got to his feet and seemed to consider getting on a replacement bike before being taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

His Bahrain Victorious team had already lost leader Mikel Landa as he was forced to abandon the Giro after a crash on Stage 4.

Bernal took over the race lead from Attila Valter, who was dropped on the final climb. The Colombian has a 15-second lead over Remco Evenepoel and is 21 seconds ahead of Vlasov.

The 10th stage is an undulating 139-kilometer (86-mile) route from L’Aquila to Foligno. The first rest day is on Tuesday.

The Giro finishes on May 30 in Milan with an individual time trial.

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.