Egan Bernal adds Giro d’Italia title to Tour de France win

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MILAN — Colombian rider Egan Bernal appears to have finally put his back problems behind him as he added the Giro d’Italia title to his Tour de France win.

Bernal, who won the Tour in 2019, safely maintained his advantage on the final day’s time trial to Milan. As tradition dictates, he was last off the ramp and the Ineos Grenadiers rider had an overall lead of almost two minutes.

Bernal completed the 30.3-kilometer (18.8-mile) route in 35 minutes, 41 seconds to clinch overall victory by 1:29, the biggest margin of victory at the Giro since 2015. He pumped his hands above his head as he crossed the line in front of Milan’s famous cathedral.

“It’s difficult to realize what I’ve done. I have just won a Giro d’Italia. I have no words after what happened in these two years,” said the 24-year-old Bernal, who has struggled with a lingering back injury that forced him to abandon last year’s Tour.

Damiano Caruso was second overall, with Simon Yates completing the podium. Yates finished 4:15 behind Bernal.

Bernal had worn the leader’s pink jersey since claiming it by winning the ninth stage with an attack on the summit finish. And, along with his team, he brilliantly defended it along the rest of the route to Milan, where he lifted the impressive Trofeo Senza Fine (never-ending trophy).

“Yes, finally, this is my second Grand Tour (win),” Bernal said. “I think in this moment I look calm but inside I am exploding with happiness. I’ve already won the Tour and now the Giro.

“It is my first Giro, and it was very special, the way we rode, the way I returned to being a player after nearly two years without good form in a Grand Tour. So, I think it’s special.”

There were hundreds of fans in Milan’s Piazza Duomo celebrating Bernal’s victory, many waving Colombia flags and wearing shirts of the country’s soccer team.

Bernal’s teammate, Filippo Ganna, won the individual time trial despite a late puncture after the Italian’s closest rival, Remi Cavagna, crashed with about 600 meters to go.

“When I see the puncture, I think, ‘Ah, today unlucky, I lose the race’,” Ganna said. “I changed the bike really well, really fast, like a Formula One race, and then when I crossed the line I think, `OK, now will win Cavagna,’ because he’s a really good rider, really good time trial.

“In the end when I see his crash, I think, `OK, we have played with the same cards, I puncture and he’s crashed,’ and the result I think is the same without my puncture and without his crash.”

Ganna was the favorite to triumph on the 21st and final stage. He won the opening time trial in Turin and all three time trials in last year’s Giro as well as another stage.

Ganna took the lead with a time of 33:48 but his chances of winning seemed precarious as he lost about 20 seconds when he was forced to change bikes after the puncture.

Cavagna looked set to beat his time but the French time trial champion appeared to lock up his brakes at a corner and flipped over his bicycle as Ganna watched from the leader’s hot seat.

Cavagna got up unhurt and finished second, 12 seconds behind Ganna.

Edoardo Affini was third, a second further back.

“As a team, we brought home a beautiful result,” Ganna said. “Egan Bernal did something wonderful that has been built over these last three weeks.

“We worked hard to keep Egan always at the front of the peloton … And to arrive today with the pink jersey and celebrate tonight all together I think is a dream of every team.”

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.