Nizzolo finally wins Giro d’Italia stage on 8th attempt; Bernal leads

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VERONA, Italy — Riding the Giro d’Italia for the eighth time in his career, Giacomo Nizzolo finally claimed his first stage win in his home Grand Tour, while Egal Bernal’s overall lead remained unchanged.

Nizzolo won a mass sprint at the end of the entirely flat 198-kilometer (123-mile) 13th stage from Ravenna to Verona.

“Finally I’ve got a stage victory at the Giro,” Nizzolo said.

The route paid tribute to the poet Dante Alighieri on the 700th anniversary of his death in Ravenna. The unchallenging leg also gave riders a break before hitting the high mountains over the weekend.

“Finally we had an easy day,” Bernal said.

Bernal, the 2019 Tour de France champion, remained 45 seconds ahead of Aleksandr Vlasov and 1 minute, 12 seconds ahead of Damiano Caruso.

Edoardo Affini surged ahead early in the sprint but Nizzolo rushed past him just before the line.

Affini finished second and Peter Sagan came third.

“I decided to launch a long sprint,” Nizzolo said. “I chose to risk staying too long in the wind rather than wait for too long behind other riders with the chance of being blocked. My choice paid off.”

Nizzolo, who rides for Team Qhubeka Assos, is the reigning European and Italian road race champion.

A big challenge awaits with a punishing climb to Monte Zoncolan concluding the 14th stage.

“It would be special to win atop the Zoncolan tomorrow but that means controlling the whole peloton so I would be happy if I just keep the pink jersey,” Bernal said.

The Giro ends 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.