Bardet pulls out of Giro d’Italia, Démare claims third win

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CUNEO, Italy — Romain Bardet pulled out of the Giro d’Italia due to a stomach bug before French cyclist Arnaud Démare claimed his third victory in this year’s race.

Bardet, who was among the overall title favorites and lying fourth overall, climbed off his bike about a third of the way into Stage 13 and got into a Team DSM car. Shortly afterward, the team confirmed his abandonment.

Bardet suffered from a stomach bug the previous day and was seen holding his stomach in pain at the beginning of Friday’s stage in San Remo.

He was only 14 seconds behind leader Juan Pedro López overall, and was expected to be the main challenger to favorite Richard Carapaz. Bardet had been in great form, finishing first in the Tour of the Alps last month and almost winning atop the Blockhaus on the Giro ninth stage on Sunday.

“He slept the whole way back in the bus after the race. He didn’t eat last night, he couldn’t eat anything. He was awake all night being sick,” Team DSM coach Matt Winston said.

“This morning there was a small chance he could finish today but Romain’s a fighter. He wanted to start the stage, he wanted to go for it. But he was already being sick in the neutral and it just wasn’t possible to continue.”

The 150-kilometer (93-mile) stage to Cuneo was expected to be a final one for the sprinters but for a long time it appeared as if it was going to be won from a breakaway. However, the sprinters’ teams worked hard to drive the peloton and the four escapees were swallowed up with just 700 meters to go.

That set up the final sprint, and Démare managed to head off Phil Bauhaus and Mark Cavendish.

“When I got here I was saying it would be nice to win one … I’m really happy,” said Démare, who rides for Groupama–FDJ. “It was an incredible day. They really resisted at the front.

“We were really riding hard and with 10 kilometers to go I started to think about the sprint because we knew we’d get them by then and the guys did a great job. It was monstrous actually the leadout … and I did a big strong sprint.”

The breakaway got away early in the stage and the four escapees built a lead of more than six minutes at the summit of the Colle di Nava, the only classified climb of the day — a steep, third-category ascent in the first half of the route.

It appeared as if the peloton let the breakaway gain too much time on the climb as the quartet worked well together to keep the pack distanced, but it was to end in heartbreak for the four riders, each of whom was looking for a first grand tour stage win.

López maintained his 12-second lead over Carapaz and João Almeida, and will wear the pink jersey for a 10th day on Saturday’s 14th stage. It is the shortest one of the race at just 147 kilometers (91 miles) but includes two ascents of the Maddalena and the Superga hill in a challenging two-lap circuit in the second half of the undulating route from Santena to Torino.

“I need to enjoy, like, every day,” López said. “For sure, some guys will try to make a difference but I will try to do my 100%.”

The Giro finishes in nine 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.