De Gendt wins Giro d’Italia Stage 8, López keeps overall lead

105th Giro d'Italia 2022 - Stage 8
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NAPLES, Italy – A decade after his first Giro d’Italia stage win, Belgian cyclist Thomas De Gendt claimed his second during Stage 8, as Juan Pedro Lopez kept the pink jersey.

De Gendt was helped by Lotto-Soudal teammate Harm Vanhoucke and edged out Davide Gabburo and Jorge Arcas in the sprint at the end of an undulating 153-kilometer (95-mile) route that started and finished in the seaside city of Naples.

The 35-year-old De Gendt sat up and pumped his fist in celebration as he crossed the line.

“I was working for Harm that he could attack on the climb but he said he didn’t have good legs anymore so I said the last three kilometers to him, `You ride full and I’m sure I will win the sprint, I’m sure.’ And he did it perfectly until 300 meters to go, so I have to thank Harm a lot,” De Gendt said.

“Today was one of those days that suits me . but if you’d asked me two weeks ago if I was able to win a stage in the Giro I would have said no because I was in so bad shape, and now the good legs are coming.”

All four riders were part of a 21-man breakaway that got away in a fast start, driven by Mathieu Van Der Poel, who was keen for the stage win.

The route took in four laps of a 19-kilometer (12-mile) circuit in the volcanic surrounding area.

It was on the penultimate lap that Van Der Poel tried to attack, but he was caught by other riders from the breakaway. Shortly after, the quartet that contested the final sprint managed to get clear with 40 kilometers remaining.

Most of the overall contenders crossed the line together, about 3 1/2 minutes behind De Gendt.

Lopez maintained his 38-second advantage over Lennard Kamna after moving into the overall lead on Tuesday. Rein Taaramae was third, 58 seconds behind Lopez.

Kamna tried to attack from the peloton but was swiftly reeled in by Lopez and his Trek-Segafredo teammates.

“In the team meeting in the morning we spoke about if Kamna attacks I try to follow. When he attacked I followed him, I stayed in his wheel, and nothing,” Lopez said.

“I have a really, really good team. My teammates, my staff, everybody made my day. My teammates they did the 100% and we stay another day in pink.”

Sunday’s ninth stage is one of the toughest in this year’s race. The 191-kilometer (119-mile) route from Isernia finishes atop the fearsome Blockhaus, with double-digit gradients along a series of hairpin bends leading to the line.

There are also three other categorised climbs on a day that includes 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) of climbing and a start that some team directors have called the toughest ever start to a grand tour stage.

The Giro finishes on May 29 in Verona.

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.