Oldani earns first professional win, López keeps Giro d’Italia lead

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GENOA, Italy — Italian cyclist Stefano Oldani claimed his first professional victory by winning Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia while Juan Pedro López kept the pink jersey.

Oldani, who rides for Alpecin-Fenix, edged compatriot Lorenzo Rota by half a bike length, and Dutch cyclist Gijs Leemreize was third at the end of the 204-kilometer (127-mile) route from Parma to Genoa.

All three riders were looking for their first World Tour win and were all wary of each other.

Leemreize opened up his sprint first, but Oldani kicked in and held on for the win.

Oldani burst into joyful tears after crossing the line. He was the second Italian to win in as many days after a wait of 11 days in their home race.

“For sure it was not easy,” Oldani said. “I knew Rota, he’s my friend, so I knew that he was also fast, so I had to watch out … it was not so easy to manage it but in the end I did it. I still can’t believe it, I couldn’t stop crying before because I worked really, really hard for this. It seems like magic that I’ve done it.”

The trio was part of a large breakaway that eventually got up the road after a frantic start with lots of attempts to escape the peloton.

The group had an advantage of over five minutes on the first of the three third-category climbs, the Passo del Bocco.

It was the first time the climb featured in the Giro since the death of Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt during the race in 2011. The race honored Weylandt on the descent where he crashed.

Rota, Oldani and Leemreize attacked from the 25-man breakaway group on the second categorized climb of the day and swiftly built a lead, which they worked well together to maintain on the tough final ascent.

Bauke Mollema led the chasing group across the line, 57 seconds behind Oldani. The peloton was more than nine minutes behind.

López maintained his 12-second lead overall from Richard Carapaz and João Almeida. The 24-year-old Spaniard, who rides for Trek–Segafredo, has worn the maglia rosa since finishing second on Stage 4 on Etna.

“My objective was to try to win some stages, but now I live a dream, nine days in the maglia rosa is amazing,” López said.

Friday’s 13th stage is the final one for the sprinters although there is a steep, third-category climb in the first half of the 150-kilometer (93-mile) route from San Remo to Cuneo.

One of the top sprinters will not be there as Caleb Ewan pulled out before the start of Thursday’s stage. The Australian struggled since crashing on the opening day and had always said he would leave the Giro before the finish in order to focus on the Tour de France.

The Giro finishes in 10 days 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.