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Richard Carapaz wins Giro d’Italia, first Ecuadorian to claim Grand Tour

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VERONA, Italy — Richard Carapaz became Ecuador’s first Grand Tour champion as he won the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, while American Chad Haga was fastest on the final stage’s individual time trial.

Carapaz, who rides for Movistar, keeled over his handlebars with emotion inside the Arena di Verona after the 17-kilometer (10.5-mile) route.

The 26-year-old Carapaz has worn the leader’s pink jersey since winning the grueling 14th stage on May 25.

“This is the biggest moment of my sporting life,” Carapaz said. “In this final time trial I just suffered from start to finish until I reached the arena of Verona. It’s fabulous to win the Giro d’Italia.”

The Ecuadorian finished the three-week race one minute, five seconds ahead of home favorite Vincenzo Nibali and 2:30 ahead of Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic, who leapfrogged Mikel Landa into third spot.

“I don’t have any regrets, we all had a good Giro d’Italia, which was very hard-fought,” Nibali said. “I had great rivals, Carapaz showed he is strong and that he deserved it … Carapaz didn’t steal anything, he was really strong.”

Both Carapaz and Nibali took their children onto the podium with them as they collected their trophies.

Carapaz’s parents had also flown over from Ecuador and revealed it was the first time they had been on a plane.

Haga had told his wife to stay at home.

“Maybe that was a mistake,” the Team Sunweb cyclist said as he smiled through tears of joy in a post-race interview. “This is for everyone who believed in me and supported me and sacrificed for me.

“I gave everything today and to finally win … it’s very special.”

Haga had thought about quitting cycling after he and five other teammates were hospitalized after being hit by a car while they were training in Calpe, Spain. The incident happened in January 2016, when he was part of Team Giant-Alpecin.

It was Haga’s first stage victory in a Grand Tour. He was four seconds faster than Victor Campenaerts and six faster than Thomas De Gendt.

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David Boudia adjusts diving event, goal for world championships

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David Boudia earned diving medals at his last three world championships and the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, but that was on the platform. He competes on the global stage on the springboard for the first time at worlds this week.

“I don’t have a lot of high hopes,” Boudia, who is still learning the springboard after switching to it in the last year, said in a phone interview from South Korea, where he begins competition Wednesday (TV schedule here). “But I think my biggest goal is to walk away with an Olympic spot.”

An Olympic spot not necessarily for himself, but for the U.S.

Boudia, a 30-year-old father of three, and any other American will clinch 2020 Olympic quota spots by placing in the top 12 in their respective individual events this week. Those spots, and any others earned at later competitions in the next year, will be filled at trials in June in Indianapolis.

NBC Sports analyst Cynthia Potter believes Boudia, who left the sport to sell homes in 2017 and came back and suffered a concussion off the platform in 2018, can meet his goal of making Friday’s 12-man final in Gwangju.

“He would have to dive well, but not better than he’s been diving,” she said. “His springboard is really well-timed, rhythmic, and he’s for a long time known how to go into the water without making a splash.”

But challenging Rio Olympic gold and silver medalists Cao Yuan of China and Jack Laugher of Great Britain, plus defending world champion Xie Siyi of China would be very tough.

Boudia lacks their degrees of difficulty, for now. He hopes to switch out two of his six dives before his first competition of 2020, though he could insert one of them should he make the world final.

“I need a good six months, so from August to December is when we’re kind of really drilling the fundamentals of learning those new dives and getting them perfected,” he said.

Boudia rallied to beat Rio Olympic springboard diver Michael Hixon for the title in May at nationals, where the top two per event earned world berths. But Boudia competed there with about a month of competition dive practice, about half as long as he would prefer.

“Hix and I are going to have a lot of training to do if we want to be even close to cracking that top five,” at worlds, Boudia said in May, according to TeamUSA.org.

Boudia is the lone U.S. diver to earn an individual world medal in an Olympic diving event since 2009.

The U.S. produced breakthroughs at worlds so far. Sarah Bacon became the first American woman to earn a world title since 2005, taking the non-Olympic 1m springboard event. Murphy Bromberg and Katrina Young bagged bronze in synchronized platform, ending a decade-long medal drought in any synchro event.

But Boudia’s goal must be shared among the whole team — as many top-12 finishes individually and top three in synchro events to gobble up Tokyo 2020 quota spots. The U.S. failed to qualify full teams for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

“Getting in the top 12 in the four individual Olympic events is the big deal right now,” Potter said. “Whether you are on the awards stand or not, that would be icing on the cake for a lot of these divers.”

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Anita Wlodarczyk, one of track and field’s most dominant, sidelined

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Poland hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk, the only woman to win the last five combined Olympic and world titles in a track and field event, will not go for a fourth straight world championship this fall.

Wlodarczyk had season-ending, arthroscopic left knee surgery on Monday, according to Polish media citing her coach.

Wlodarczyk, 33, has the top 15 throws on the IAAF’s all-time list, and 27 of the top 29. Her world record of 82.98 meters (scribbled on her leg pre-op) is 11 and a half feet farther the second-best woman in history. She originally took silver at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 Worlds but was upgraded to gold after Russian Tatyana Lysenko was stripped for doping.

Wlodarczyk won a reported 42 straight finals between 2014 and 2017, then suffered three losses in 2018 and two so far this year in three lower-level meets before the operation.

Americans DeAnna Price and Brooke Anderson rank Nos. 1 and 2 in the world this year. A U.S. woman has never finished in the top five of an Olympic or world championships hammer throw, which debuted at worlds in 1999 and the Olympics in 2000.

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