Vuelta: Barguil posts second stage win, Nibali lead cut

Updated 15 September 2013
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Vuelta: Barguil posts second stage win, Nibali lead cut

HUESCA, Spain: Frenchman Warren Barguil clinched his second stage win in four days as race leader Vincenzo Nibali’s advantage was substantially reduced in the Tour of Spain on Monday.
Barguil somehow held on to win a photo finish with Colombian Rigoberto Uran as Poland’s Bartosz Huzarski took third on the 146.8km 16th stage from Graus to Sallent de Gallego.
Italian Nibali, meanwhile, struggled mightily on the climb to the finish as he was dropped by American Chris Horner with around 3km to go, losing 22 seconds on the RadioShack rider and seeing his overall lead trimmed to just 28 seconds with five stages remaining.
Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde remains in third place overall but he also gained time on Nibali and is now just 1min 14secs behind the Giro d’Italia winner.
After two brutal stages through the Pyrenees over the weekend, the pack was split for the majority of the day with a large leading group of over 20 riders being held in check by the chasing peloton.
The excitement didn’t truly start therefore until around 10km to go when, after a series of failed attempts, Barguil eventually pulled clear at the front and quickly opened up a 30-second gap.
However, unlike his break to victory on Friday, the 21-year-old didn’t have enough in the tank to maintain his lead all the way to the finish and was caught by Uran about a kilometer from home.
The Sky rider then seemed certain for a first stage victory in the Tour of Spain but Barguil somehow surged past him in the final sprint to the line to take the win.
“It has been a great tour for me. When I attacked I had very good legs but I saw Uran was coming and I thought it best to wait a little and go for the sprint,” Barguil said afterwards.
“To beat such a great rider and win gives me great confidence.”
Further back Valverde, the 2009 winner, and Joaquim Rodriguez, who in July finished third on the Tour de France, were attempting to break away from Nibali on the final climb, but unlike in the previous two days the the 2010 champion wasn’t able to stay with them as the Spanish duo both gained 28 seconds on the leader.
And Horner was also able to escape the clutches of Nibali in the final stages to put himself very much in contention to win his first Tour of Spain come Madrid on Sunday.
Nibali will at least have a day to recover, though, with Tuesday being a rest day before the 189km ride from Calahorra to Burgos on Wednesday.


Saudi Arabia set to face Mario Balotelli after striker earns Italy recall

Updated 37 min 19 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia set to face Mario Balotelli after striker earns Italy recall

  • Saudi Arabia play Italy on May 28
  • Balotelli set to play for the Azzurri for the first time in four years

TURIN: New Italy coach Roberto Mancini on Saturday recalled Nice striker Mario Balotelli to the Azzurri fold for three upcoming friendlies as he begins the job of reviving Italian fortunes.
Mancini was appointed last Monday, six months after Gian Piero Ventura was sacked following the four-time world champions’ failure to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
The 53-year-old, who left Zenit Saint Petersburg to take the job, unveiled his first 30-man squad for matches against Saudi Arabia, France and the Netherlands.
Mancini takes charge of his first game against the Green Falcons in St. Gallen, Switzerland on May 28.
As expected, the 27-year-old Balotelli was included for the first time in nearly four years.
Balotelli has scored 13 goals in 33 appearances for the Azzurri but has not played international football since Italy’s humiliating group-stage exit from the 2014 World Cup.
Balotelli was last called up by coach Antonio Conte in November 2014 but did not play because of injury.
He has now been given another chance by Mancini, who coached him at both Inter Milan and Manchester City.
Balotelli has resurrected his career since joining Nice in 2016 after less successful spells with AC Milan and Liverpool, scoring 26 goals in all competitions this season, without any of the bad-boy behavior that previously dogged his career.
Italy are not spoilt for choice with forward so Balotelli’s success with Nice could not be overlooked by Mancini.
As a youngster, Balotelli was part of the Inter side coached by Jose Mourinho that won the Champions League in 2010.
He also won three Serie A titles with Inter before switching to Manchester City and helping them claim the Premier League crown in 2012.
Meanwhile, Mancini’s squad was without goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon who this week confirmed he would not play again for the national side.
The presence of Buffon — who holds the record for Italy caps with 176 — proved controversial during friendlies in March with his critics wanting him to move over for a younger generation.
In his absence, Mancini has recalled Salvatore Sirigu, who has had a successful season since joining Torino, alongside AC Milan teenager Gianluigi Donnarumma and Genoa’s Mattia Perin.
Among the veterans there was no call-up for Roma captain Daniele De Rossi, with Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini absent through injury.
The captain’s armband is expected to go to AC Milan center-back Leonardo Bonucci.
Five players have been given a first call-up — Chelsea left-back Emerson Palmieri, Torino midfielder Daniele Baselli, Crotone midfielder Rolando Mandragora, Sassuolo striker Domenico Berardi and Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara.
Along with defenders Alessio Romagnoli and Daniele Rugani, midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini and strikers Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi are among the promising youngsters who are expected to put Italy back on the road to victory.
The squad will meet for the first time at the Italian national team’s training camp at Coverciano near Florence on May 23.

Italy squad
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan), Mattia Perin (Genoa), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino);
Defenders: Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan), Mattia Caldara (Atalanta), Domenico Criscito (Zenit St. Petersburg/RUS), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Inter Milan), Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus), Emerson Palmieri Dos Santos (Chelsea/ENG), Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea/ENG)
Midfielders: Daniele Baselli (Torino), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Bryan Cristante (Atalanta), Alessandro Florenzi (Roma), Jorginho (Napoli), Rolando Mandragora (Crotone), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma)
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Nice/FRA), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Matteo Politano (Sassuolo), Simone Verdi (Bologna), Simone Zaza (Valencia/ESP)