Nairo Quintana gets Tour de France DQ for opioid use

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AIGLE, Switzerland — Two-time Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana was disqualified from the 2022 edition for misuse of an opioid banned during races.

Quintana will lose the sixth-place finish he achieved last month but is not banned from other races, the International Cycling Union said when announcing the decision. The UCI said it was not a doping violation.

Quintana is due to start in the three-week Spanish Vuelta, which he won in 2016.

Traces of the synthetic painkiller tramadol were found in two dried blood spot samples taken from the Colombian rider during the Tour on July 8 and 13, the UCI said.

Quintana’s case is among the first in world sports 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 during cycling competitions because of the potential side effects.

“In addition to the risk of dependence and addiction, commonly reported adverse side effects of tramadol are dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention, which are incompatible with competitive cycling and endanger other competitors,” the UCI medical rules state.

The 32-year-old Quintana finished the three-week Tour de France more than 16 minutes behind winner Jonas Vingegaard.

“As this is a first offence, (Quintana) is not declared ineligible and can therefore participate in competitions,” the UCI said.

Quintana finished second in 2013 and 2015, behind Chris Froome both times, and also won the 2014 Giro d’Italia.

Giro d’Italia to start on former railway line in Abruzzo

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L’AQUILA, Italy — The 2023 edition of the Giro d’Italia will start with an individual time trial on a coastal cycle path that has been recreated from a former railway line in the region of Abruzzo.

At a ceremony in the Abruzzo capital of L’Aquila, race organizers announced that the Grand Tour will run from May 6-28 and begin with an 18.4-kilometer (11.4-mile) time trial on the Adriatic coast.

Almost the entire time trial will be on the spectacular Costa dei Trabocchi cycle path that hugs the coast line before a short climb to the finish in Ortona.

“I am excited at the idea of the Grande Partenza (Big Start) of the Giro in Abruzzo . It is a dream come true, especially with regard to the prologue on the Costa dei Trabocchi,” said Trek-Segafredo cyclist Dario Cataldo, who is from the region.

“I well remember that when the cycle path project was born and I saw the first tracks, I imagined the beauty of a Giro d’Italia passing along the route. It looked perfect.”

Stage 2 is a 204-kilometer (127-mile) leg from Teramo to San Salvo that is hilly in the first part but expected to end in a bunch sprint.

Stage 3 will also start in the Abruzzo region, in Vasto, but it will then head south and will be detailed when the full route is revealed on Oct. 17 in Milan.

The Giro will also return to the region for Stage 7, a daunting climb on the Gran Sasso d’Italia to Campo Imperatore. The high mountain stage, on May 12, will be the edition’s first finish above 2,000 meters.

Australian Jai Hindley won this year’s Giro.

Norway takes gold-medal lead at world road cycling titles

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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Soren Waerenskjold repeated Norway’s gold medal success at the world road cycling championships a day after Tobias Foss finished first in the elite men’s time trial.

Waerenskjold won the men’s under-23 time trial on the second day of the championships with a dominant performance. He clocked 34 minutes, 13.40 seconds over the 28.8-kilometer course to beat Belgian Alec Segaert by 16.34 seconds.

British rider Leo Hayter, the younger brother of elite rider Ethan Hayter, was 24.16 seconds off the pace for the bronze medal.

Foss beat a strong field to win the elite time trial, the biggest win of his career.

Norway has two gold medals, while Dutch ace Ellen van Dijk beat Australian Grace Brown to take out the women’ elite time trial.

The mixed relay time trial is set for Wednesday. The championships conclude on the weekend with the women’s road race on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday.