Vincenzo Nibali, winner of all three Grand Tours, sets cycling retirement

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali, one of seven cyclists to win all three Grand Tours and the last Italian to win the Tour de France, reportedly said he will retire at the end of this season.

Nibali, 37, made the announcement after Wednesday’s fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia in his hometown of Messina.

“I was waiting for this stage for a while, for years, it’s where I started to ride and train, so I wanted to confirm that this is my last Giro and my last season,” a tearful Nibali said, according to multiple reports. “It’s time to call it a day. I’ve done so much for so long, but it’s the right time.”

Nibali won the Giro in 2013 and 2016. He also won the Vuelta a España in 2010 and the Tour de France in 2014. He has 11 Grand Tour podiums in all, the last at the 2019 Giro.

With his Tour de France title, Nibali became the sixth man to win all three Grand Tours, joining Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, Italian Felice Gimondi, Belgian Eddy Merckx and Spaniard Alberto Contador. Brit Chris Froome later joined the group.

Nibali, nicknamed “The Shark,” was the only man other than Froome to win the Tour de France between 2013 and 2017, capitalizing in 2014 after Froome abandoned due to crashes in the first week while Nibali held the general classification lead. Nibali became the first Italian to win the Tour de France since Marco Pantani in 1998.

He was also the only rider not from Team Sky/Ineos Grenadiers to win the Tour from 2012 through 2019.

Nibali also raced in the last four Olympics with a best finish of 14th in the time trial in 2008.

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South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun

Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

Brigid Kosgei

World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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