Egan Bernal adds Giro d’Italia title to Tour de France win

Egan Bernal
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MILAN (AP) — Colombian rider Egan Bernal appears to have finally put his back problems behind him as he added the Giro d’Italia title to his Tour de France win on Sunday.

Bernal, who won the Tour in 2019, safely maintained his advantage on the final day’s time trial to Milan. As tradition dictates, he was last off the ramp and the Ineos Grenadiers rider had an overall lead of almost two minutes.

Bernal completed the 30.3-kilometer (18.8-mile) route in 35 minutes, 41 seconds to clinch overall victory by 1:29, the biggest margin of victory at the Giro since 2015. He pumped his hands above his head as he crossed the line in front of Milan’s famous cathedral.

“It’s difficult to realize what I’ve done. I have just won a Giro d’Italia. I have no words after what happened in these two years,” said the 24-year-old Bernal, who has struggled with a lingering back injury that forced him to abandon last year’s Tour.

Damiano Caruso was second overall, with Simon Yates completing the podium. Yates finished 4:15 behind Bernal.

Bernal had worn the leader’s pink jersey since claiming it by winning the ninth stage with an attack on the summit finish. And, along with his team, he brilliantly defended it along the rest of the route to Milan, where he lifted the impressive Trofeo Senza Fine (never-ending trophy).

“Yes, finally, this is my second Grand Tour (win),” Bernal said. “I think in this moment I look calm but inside I am exploding with happiness. I’ve already won the Tour and now the Giro.

“It is my first Giro, and it was very special, the way we rode, the way I returned to being a player after nearly two years without good form in a Grand Tour. So, I think it’s special.”

There were hundreds of fans in Milan’s Piazza Duomo celebrating Bernal’s victory, many waving Colombia flags and wearing shirts of the country’s soccer team.

Bernal’s teammate, Filippo Ganna, won the individual time trial despite a late puncture after the Italian’s closest rival, Rémi Cavagna, crashed with about 600 meters to go.

“When I see the puncture, I think, ‘Ah, today unlucky, I lose the race’,” Ganna said. “I changed the bike really well, really fast, like a Formula One race, and then when I crossed the line I think, ‘OK, now will win Cavagna,’ because he’s a really good rider, really good time trial.

“In the end when I see his crash, I think, ‘OK, we have played with the same cards, I puncture and he’s crashed,’ and the result I think is the same without my puncture and without his crash.”

Ganna was the favorite to triumph on the 21st and final stage. He won the opening time trial in Turin and all three time trials in last year’s Giro as well as another stage.

Ganna took the lead with a time of 33:48 but his chances of winning seemed precarious as he lost about 20 seconds when he was forced to change bikes after the puncture.

Cavagna looked set to beat his time but the French time trial champion appeared to lock up his brakes at a corner and flipped over his bicycle as Ganna watched from the leader’s hot seat.

Cavagna got up unhurt and finished second, 12 seconds behind Ganna.

Edoardo Affini was third, a second further back.

“As a team, we brought home a beautiful result,” Ganna said. “Egan Bernal did something wonderful that has been built over these last three weeks.

“We worked hard to keep Egan always at the front of the peloton … And to arrive today with the pink jersey and celebrate tonight all together I think is a dream of every team.”

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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