Italian cyclist Alberto Bettiol on Thursday timed his attack perfectly to win the 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia for his first victory in a Grand Tour, while Egan Bernal kept the leader’s pink jersey at the end of the race’s longest leg.
Bettiol of EF Education-Nippo had plenty of time to sit up on his bicycle and repeatedly lift up his hands to encourage the home fans that lined the route to cheer louder as he approached the finish line.
“It means really, really a lot for me, for my team, and for the people that always believe in me,” the 27-year-old said. “It’s a gift that I want to go to my former agent, Mauro Battaglini, that passed away last year, and was like a second father for me, so this victory is for him that for sure he looks on me from the sky.”
The 231km route from Rovereto to Stradella was mainly flat, but ended with a series of short climbs through the rolling Pavia winelands.
Remi Cavagna appeared to be heading for the win after attacking on the approach to the fourth category Castana climb and crossing with a 28 second advantage, but Bettiol had set off in pursuit, and he caught and passed the French time trial champion with about 7km remaining.
“The final was really hectic because a lot of guys looked at me, everybody were in my wheel, and I was sure that a strong guy like Remi Cavagna would try something,” Bettiol said. “Fortunately, the final was really, really strong and really, really hard, and I could use my legs ... and in the end I catch him, and I immediately attacked.”
Simone Consonni led the rest of the breakaway across, 17 seconds behind Bettiol, and Nicolas Roche was third.
Bernal crossed the line in the peloton, more than 23 minutes behind.
The 2019 Tour de France champion maintained his lead of 2 minutes, 21 seconds over Damiano Caruso and 3:23 ahead of third-placed Simon Yates.
“You can’t say you are overconfident, because in just one bad day you can lose everything,” Bernal said. “I have a lot of respect for the other guys, and I need to be focused and just try do my best, and that’s it.”
Yesterday’s stage was modified to bypass the climb of the Mottarone after a cable car disaster there killed 14 people on Sunday. The route nevertheless included three categorized climbs on the 166km leg from Abbiategrasso to Alpe di Mera.
The Giro finishes tomorrow in Milan with an individual time trial.
Jorge Fernandez was not going to attend his daughter Leylah’s all-teen US Open final showdown yesterday with Britain’s Emma Raducanu over fears about messing with routines that are working. Jorge Fernandez, a former soccer player from Ecuador who became a tennis coach for his daughter, was to watch from home in Florida — as he has for two weeks — when 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez was to meet 18-year-old qualifier Raducanu for the title. “No, I’m not going to be there,” Jorge Fernandez told US Open reporters on a conference call. “I’m extremely superstitious. My daughter is as well. I’ve been using the
FAIRY-TALE RUN: Emma Raducanu, 18, is trying to become the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 British 18-year-old Emma Raducanu on Thursday became the first qualifier in history to make a Grand Slam final when she reached a fairy-tale US Open decider against another teenager, 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez. Raducanu, who was virtually unknown even in Britain at the start of the year, is to become the youngest Grand Slam finalist in 17 years after beating Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in a nerveless display. “I’m in the final and I can’t actually believe it,” Raducanu said. Fernandez, a 73rd-ranked left-hander, beat second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-4 for her third Open win
REVENUE SHARING: The US Soccer Federation said it believes that the best path forward for the men’s and women’s national soccer teams is a single pay structure The US Soccer Federation (USSF) on Tuesday said that it has offered “identical” contracts to its men’s and women’s national teams as part of efforts to end a long-running gender pay dispute. A statement from the USSF said that the proposed contracts had been sent to the players’ associations acting on behalf of the US men’s national team (USMNT) and US women’s national team (USWNT), with the goal being to bring the national squads under a single collective bargaining agreement (CBA). “US Soccer firmly believes that the best path forward for all involved, and for the future of the sport in the
POWERFUL FIGURE: Sheikh Ahmad led the OCA from 1991 to Friday, and was also an influential member of the IOC until 2018 and other sports bodies, including FIFA Veteran Indian sports administrator Raja Randhir Singh yesterday took over as head of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) after its Kuwaiti former leader was sentenced to jail in a forgery case. Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad Al Sabah, a member of Kuwait’s ruling family, stepped aside as Asia’s top sports official after the Geneva court on Friday found him guilty over a plot against political rivals in the Gulf state. Singh, 74, said in a statement that he was taking over as interim president as the longest-serving member of the OCA executive. Taiwan’s national Olympic committee is a member of the OCA. “I have every