Evenepoel safely in Vuelta lead after Roglic withdraws

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ARACENA, Spain — Remco Evenepoel safely kept his Spanish Vuelta lead after three-time defending champion Primoz Roglic withdrew ahead of Stage 17 because of injuries.

Rigoberto Uran, the 35-year-old Colombian from team EF Education-EasyPost, prevailed on the final climb to win the stage and complete his treble of Grand Tour victories after previous stage triumphs in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

“I had been chasing it for many years,” Uran said. “When you already have victories in the Giro and in the Tour, and now in La Vuelta, as a rider for three-week events, it gives me a lot of happiness. Today is a very special day for me.”

He crossed the line two seconds ahead of Quentin Pacher and Jesus Herrada. Marc Soler was 15 seconds back in fourth place.

Roglic didn’t start after not recovering from his injuries sustained in a crash 75 meters (82 yards) from the finish line while going for the victory in Stage 16. The Slovenian from team Jumbo-Visma was seeking an unprecedented fourth straight Vuelta title.

Evenepoel finished in the group of riders who crossed the line five minutes behind Uran. The Belgian cyclist from team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl maintained a lead of more than two minutes over Enric Mas of team Movistar. Juan Ayuso was nearly five minutes back in third place.

“I think the race is as hard to control as it was with Primoz,” Evenepoel said. “But of course, on a finish like this, Primoz is a really explosive guy. I think now there is less danger from attacks like this because Enric is a bit less explosive than Primoz. I think that’s the main difference but that doesn’t make it easier, not at all.”

Roglic was 1 minute, 26 seconds behind Evenepoel before withdrawing.

“I think Enric tried to see how my legs were today but I could respond very well,” Evenepoel said. “The team brought me in a good position to the final climb. The speed was really high. It wasn’t an easy finish at all.”

Riders will face a mountain stage with three major ascents on the way to another unprecedented summit finish at the Alto de Piornal.

The three-week race finishes in Madrid.

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.

Filippo Ganna breaks cycling’s hour world record

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GRENCHEN, Switzerland — Time trial specialist Filippo Ganna broke cycling’s hour record when he covered 56.792 kilometers in 60 minutes.

The Italian extended the record by more than 1.2 kilometers, the biggest jump in seven years.

Asked to describe the pain of the last five minutes, he said, “I lost energy to try to go for 57, but nothing (in the legs).”

He said he was open to another attempt at a different time of the season, when he was fresher.

Ganna took the record from British teammate Dan Bigham, who made his mark at the same Swiss velodrome on Aug. 19.