Giro d’Italia

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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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Chris Froome wins Giro d’Italia, is 3rd cyclist to hold all three Grand Tours

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ROME (AP) — Winning three Grand Tours consecutively was already enough to cement Chris Froome’s place in cycling history.

The way in which he won this Giro d’Italia, though, adds an extra dimension to the achievement.

The Kenyan-born British rider bounced back from two early crashes to storm into the lead two days from the end with an 80-kilometer (50-mile) solo attack in the three-week race’s toughest stage.

“I think the manner of the victory is the thing that impresses everybody. That’s the thing that will stay in everybody’s mind. This is going to be such a signature victory of his career,” Team Sky director Dave Brailsford told The Associated Press as Froome wrapped up the title Sunday.

“The manner that he won this race was absolutely incredible. It’s what bike racing is all about — it’s exciting, it’s spectacular,” Brailsford added. “I’m sure it will define his career over time.”

For a rider who had hitherto been known for his calculating, mechanical style, the attack up a gravel road so far from the finish on Stage 19 was “crazy,” as he himself described it.

“It just felt so raw,” Froome said. “This is for me what bike racing is about.”

Froome has now won the Tour de France, Spanish Vuelta and Giro in succession, becoming only the third cyclist to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time and the first to achieve the feat since the Vuelta was moved to the end of the season in 1995.

Eddy Merckx won four straight between 1972 and 1973. Bernard Hinault took three in a row in 1982 and 1983.

“This was always going to be the biggest challenge of my career,” Froome said, alluding to the “unpredictable” nature of the Giro. “But now I’ve done the triple and there’s no greater award for a professional cyclist.”

Froome, a four-time Tour de France champion, had no trouble in maintaining his 46-second lead over defending champion Tom Dumoulin in the mostly ceremonial final stage through historic Rome. He rode a special pink-colored bike for the final stage, while his Team Sky teammates had pink handlebars.

Afterward, Froome announced that his wife is pregnant and due in August. He dedicated the victory to his daughter to be.

Froome arrived at the Giro with big hopes but was not a threat early on after crashing in training before the opening time trial, losing time in a split on stage four, and injuring himself again in a second crash four days later.

But he started to climb back up the standings by winning Stage 14 up Monte Zoncolan — one of the toughest climbs in Europe — then erased more than a three-minute deficit and claimed the pink jersey with his attack on the Colle delle Finestre.

“This one is quite special,” Sky sports director Nicolas Portal said. “It was a totally different race than we’re used to.”

Froome is racing under the cloud of a potential ban after a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol that was twice the permitted level. It remains unclear when the International Cycling Union will rule on the case.

“I had every right to be here and as I’ve said before I know I’ve done nothing wrong,” Froome said.

It was Froome’s sixth Grand Tour win overall and he becomes the seventh rider to win all three Grand Tours over their careers (Merckx, Hinault, Jacques AnquetilFelice GimondiAlberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali). He’s also the first Briton to win the Giro.

Up next for Froome: an attempt at a record-tying fifth Tour title in July.

“That’s my next objective,” he said.

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Chris Froome to race Giro d’Italia in bid for cycling history

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Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome says he will ride the Giro d’Italia next year in an attempt to hold all three Grand Tour titles at once.

That will come in May, two months before Froome tries to win a record-tying fifth Tour de France.

Froome, 32 and a double Olympic bronze medalist, won the Spanish Vuelta for the first time in September.

Victory at the Giro in May would make him the seventh rider in history to win all three Grand Tours in a career.

The others were Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali.

Only Merckx (1973) and Hinault (1983) have held all three Grand Tour titles at once, which Froome is trying to duplicate.

In an unexpected announcement, Froome said “it’s a unique situation for me, having won the Tour and Vuelta and now having the opportunity to go to the Giro and attempt to win a third consecutive Grand Tour.”

Froome last raced the Giro in 2010, three years before his first Tour de France title, in his first Grand Tour for Team Sky.

He was disqualified for holding onto a police motorbike on Stage 19 on a day when he was so far behind that he intended to retire from the race anyway, according to reports.

Froome was also 36th in the 2009 Giro.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.