Ellen van Dijk claims 2nd time trial title at cycling worlds

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BRUGGE, Belgium — Eight years after her first world championship title, Ellen van Dijk got over the disappointment of missing out on the Olympics by winning a second gold medal in the women’s time trial.

Taking advantage of a flat course through the Flanders region of Belgium, the Dutch rider kept the pedals of her bike churning in a perfectly paced cadence to beat her closest rival Marlen Reusser of Switzerland by 10.29 seconds at the road cycling world championships.

“For me, time trial is my favorite discipline,” said Van Dijk, who won her first time trial world title in 2013. “It’s something I love with all my heart, and it just feels like it’s my discipline. I knew it was going to be a really good course for me, and I put everything into this. It’s a dream come true.”

Van Dijk, who suffered serious injuries two years ago including a broken arm and broken pelvis, was not selected for the Tokyo Games this summer after she was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in the season.

“This was always a big goal of me, this time of the year, to be super good here especially after I could not ride the Olympics, which of course was a big disappointment,” she said. “And also my Spring classics did not work out because I got the coronavirus.”

Van Dijk signaled her return to top form this month at the European championships, where she won the road race and finished runner-up in the time trial.

While Van Dijk was able to keep a fast tempo over the 30.3-kilometer course, Reusser ran out of gas near the end and had to be content with a runner-up finish on the day she turned 30. She also claimed silver last year and was runner-up at the Tokyo Olympics.

Reusser led at both intermediate checks but faded over the last 10 kilometers.

“In the last couple of weeks she beat me in every time trial, so I knew it would become super, super difficult and I would have to ride the best, best ever time trial,” Van Dijk said. “When I saw she lost seconds in the end then I could not quite believe it. It has been a dream for so long.”

The Swiss athlete beat Van Dijk to win the European championship.

“It was also a big dream of mine to win today,” Reusser said. “It was the biggest goal of my season, I have to say I’m really disappointed.”

Van Dijk was so fast that she caught Lisa Klein with 9.5 kilometers left before the finish line in the historic center of Brugge, the city known as the Venice of the North for its picturesque canals and bridges. The German rider rolled off the starting ramp 1 minute, 30 seconds before Van Dijk.

Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten, another Dutch rider, was third, more than 24 seconds off the pace.

She said the flat course did not suit her but was graceful in defeat, saying the rainbow jersey will look good on her teammate next year.

Aged 46, two-time world champion Amber Neben of the United States finished fourth, just weeks after suffering fractures in her pelvis during a training ride.

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.