Quintana takes Giro lead

Colombian Nairo Quintana of the Movistar team moved into the overall lead in the Giro d’Italia after winning a controversial 16th stage in difficult weather conditions across the demanding Gavia and Stelvio climbs on Tuesday.

Quintana, 24, finished eight seconds ahead of Canadian Ryder Hesjedal of the Garmin-Sharp team.

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Quintana covered 86.3 miles from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello in 4 hours, 42 minutes, 35 seconds.

Colombian Rigoberto Uran of the Omega Pharma — Quick-Step team started the stage with the overall lead, 1 minute, 3 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans, an Australian who competes for BMC Racing.

But Uran finished ninth in the stage, 4:11 behind Quintana, and Evans was 37 seconds behind Uran.

Quintana leads second-place Uran by 1:41 and third-place Evans by 3:21.

“It was raining a lot. … We all knew it was very dangerous,” Quintana said.

There was confusion as it was wrongly reported the route down the Stelvio had been neutralized, with blizzards and rain making the technical descent even more treacherous.

Some teams, as well as the person responsible for the Giro’s official Twitter account, misinterpreted instructions to be careful on the descent, wrongly understanding it to have been neutralized — which would have had the cyclists maintain their relative positions rather than try to pass others.

“The communication was badly interpreted by some teams,” race director Mauro Vegni said.

College basketball

Kansas State player can exit

Kansas State granted a release to women’s player Leticia Romero after amending its transfer policy, ending an embarrassing spat that generated national attention.

Romero, who led the Wildcats in scoring as a freshman, will be allowed to transfer to any school outside the Big 12 Conference after the K-State Athletics Board of Directors approved the policy change.

Romero had been seeking to transfer after coach Deb Patterson was fired. The school denied her request amid concerns members of the previous staff were trying to persuade her to follow them to another school.

An appeals committee upheld the decision, and pundits ranging from Dick Vitale to fellow college basketball analyst Jay Bilas took to Twitter in Romero’s support.

Romero said she would not be transferring to Northern Colorado, the school that hired Patterson as an assistant coach. Kamie Ethridge, a former Kansas State assistant, is Northern Colorado’s coach.


Tony Stewart has driven a sprint car again, roughly 10 months after the accident that sidelined the three-time NASCAR champion with a broken leg. Stewart posted several pictures to his Twitter account of a sprint car he drove Monday.

California Chrome galloped 2 miles at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner is preparing for the June 7 Belmont Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown.

“He was feeling really good today,” assistant trainer Alan Sherman said of the 3-year-old colt. “He was dragging me around the (barn shedrow) before we went to the track. He’s on it.”

Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference commissioner, said NCAA rules regarding contact between athletes and agents don’t allow for players to make the best judgments about when to leave school early.

Slive said he hopes rules regarding agents will be one of many areas the five major college-football conferences will be able to reform when and if the NCAA agrees to change its governance structure to allow those leagues to pass legislation without the approval of other conferences. Under existing rules, an athlete cannot reach an oral or written agreement with an agent and remain eligible.

Speaking to reporters after the first day of the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., Slive said the “NCAA’s current rules are really part of the problem, not part of the solution.”

Jamal Marcus, who was in the mix to start at defensive end this fall, is transferring from Ohio State. The redshirt junior from Durham, N.C., reportedly had academic problems in the spring.

• Jamaican Asafa Powell, a former world-record holder in the 100 meters, has asked for his 18-month doping ban to be reduced to three months, arguing he committed a minor offense. He tested positive for the banned stimulant oxilofrone.

Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots tight end, is due in court Wednesday to be arraigned on murder charges for allegedly ambushing and gunning down two men in 2012 after a chance encounter inside a Boston nightclub.

Hernandez, 24, already faces charges in the 2013 slaying of semipro player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was released by the Patriots last summer after his arrest on suspicion of shooting and killing Lloyd.

• Defending champion Alabama and Oklahoma State advanced to Wednesday’s match-play final of the NCAA men’s golf championships at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, Kan.

Seattle Times news services