Majka wins Vuelta’s 15th stage as Eiking keeps overall lead

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EL BARRACO, Spain – Rafal Majka took the lead at the first of four climbs and held on for an impressive win in the 15th stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Sunday, with Odd Christian Eiking keeping the overall lead.

Majka went to the front with less than 90 kilometers (56 miles) to go and stayed in control during the rest of the challenging 197.5-kilometer (122.7-mile) stage between Navalmoral de la Mata and El Barraco. He crossed the finish line in 4 hours, 51 minutes, 36 seconds – 1:27 ahead of Steven Kruijswijk.

It was the first Vuelta stage victory since 2017 for Majka, a Polish rider from UAE Team Emirates.

Eiking, who has held the leader’s red jersey since the 10th stage, finished almost three minutes behind Majka, along with the rest of the top contenders in the general classification, including two-time defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic.

Adam Yates finished fourth on Sunday to gain 15 seconds on the top contenders.

Riders have their second rest day of the three-week race on Monday. They face a stage that will favor the sprinters on Tuesday, a 180-kilometer (111.8-mile) route from Laredo to Santa Cruz de Bezana in northern Spain.

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.