Cort Nielsen wins Vuelta Stage 6, Roglic reclaims lead

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ALTO DE LA MONTANA DE CULLERA, Spain — Magnus Cort Nielsen won the sixth stage of the Spanish Vuelta after holding off a hard-charging Primoz Roglic, who took back the red leader’s shirt with his second-place finish.

Cort Nielsen was part of an early five-man breakaway on the mostly flat 158.3-kilometer (98.3-mile) ride along Spain’s eastern coast. The Danish sider for EF Education had just enough left to cross the finish line first ahead of Roglic at the top of a short but steep ascent near the Cullera Castle overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

It was the fourth stage win at the Spanish Grand Tour for Cort Nielsen, who also has a stage win at the Tour de France.

“It was very close in the end,” the Dane said. “I looked back with 150 meters to go and could see Roglic was coming. I was sprinting with everything I had and luckily I could keep him behind me.”

Roglic, the two-time defending Vuelta champion, reclaimed the race lead that he had held for the first two stages.

Kenny Ellisonde lost the lead he held for one day after he struggled throughout the final stretches of the stage.

Crosswinds whipping across rice fields over the final 30 kilometers broke the peloton into groups as it wound its way through narrow tracks. Ellisonde was caught behind and had to work hard with his Trek-Segafredo team to catch up to the head of the peloton, only for him to fade again in the final two-kilometer (1.2-mile) ascent.

Roglic, the Jumbo-Visma leader, is followed in the general classification by three Movistar riders: Eric Mas is 25 seconds behind, closely followed by teammates Miguel Angel Lopez and Alejandro Valverde. Former Tour winner Egan Bernal of Ineos is 41 second off the pace.

On Friday, riders will face a mountainous 152 kilometers (94 miles) from Gandia to a first-category summit finish at Balcon de Alicante.

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.