BASSANO DEL GRAPPA, Italy -- Colombias Nairo Quintana showed off his climbing strength and increased his lead in the Giro dItalia with a victory Friday in the 19th stage, a mountain time trial. Quintana, runner-up at last years Tour de France, clocked 1 hour, 5 minutes, 37 seconds over the 26.8-kilometre (16.7-mile) route from Bassano del Grappa to Cima Grappa. Italys Fabio Aru finished second, 17 seconds behind, and Colombias Rigoberto Uran was third, 1:26 behind. "I had a great feeling and I took full advantage of it," said Quintana, who rides for the Movistar team. "I was really well prepared." After his second stage win in this years race, Quintana moved 3:07 ahead of Uran in the overall standings. Aru moved ahead of Pierre Roland into third, 3:48 back. Victorias Ryder Hesjedal dropped to ninth overall after finishing 26th in Fridays stage. Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., was 138th Friday and sat 155th overall. Giuseppe Martinelli, Arus team director with Astana, continued to discuss the controversial 16th stage, which was also won by Quintana amid questions whether the dangerous descent from the Stelvio pass was supposed to be neutralized or not. "I think that conditioned the race," Martinelli said. "Quintana probably would still have won but not with a three-minute advantage (on Aru)." The opening five kilometres (three miles) of the time trial were nearly flat but then the road tilted uphill dramatically, reaching a gradient of 14 per cent at one point. Many riders changed bikes after the flat section, going from a specialized time trial version to their regular road bikes for the climb. Quintana even changed his helmet. "It only cost me a few seconds," Quintana said. "I was really calm. We practiced it." Stage 20 on Saturday is the races last mountain leg, a 167-kilometre (104-mile) route that starts in Maniago and finishes with a climb up the demanding Monte Zoncolan. "I think I already did today what the fans wanted to see," Quintana said. "Tomorrow I hope me and my team can control the stage." The race ends on flatter ground Sunday in the northeastern port city of Trieste. Discount Salomon Shoes Online
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. -- A 25-year-old freelance journalist from British Columbia was formally charged on Thursday with a felony, five days after she was arrested in the United States over allegations she threatened to kill her hockey player boyfriend.TORONTO - Kyle Lowry is playing the best basketball of his eight-year career and it couldnt have come at a better time for the Raptors point guard, his team or its general manager. Coming into camp in the best shape of his life, ahead of a contract season for the 27-year-old, Lowry seemed determined to change the league-wide perception of him following a disappointing 2012-13 campaign. In the process he has raised his expected market value while fuelling the Raptors resurgence, dating back to the trade of his best friend, Rudy Gay. "Hes playing at the highest level I have seen," Dwane Casey said after Lowrys season-high 32 points led Toronto past the Knicks, 115-110 Saturday, sweeping a weekend home-and-home set with New York. "He is playing with such force and such confidence. "Thats him, man," said DeMar DeRozan, who added 20 points in the victory. "He could do that every night if he really wanted to, scoring-wise. We feed off him, thats our point guard, we look to him in late-game situations and he always comes through." DeRozan was effusive in his praise of his teammate. "I think this is the best Ive seen him play, ever since he was in Houston and had that tremendous year,” DeRozan continued. “We need that from him and hes been bringing it every night and thats why weve been winning." Lowry flirted with a triple-double against the undermanned Knicks, matching his season-high of 11 assists to go along with eight boards. In his second year with the Raptors, Lowry has recorded at least six dimes in 20 consecutive games, including the last 10 without his good friend Gay. Since Gay was traded earlier in the month, the Raptors have won seven of 10 games, exceeding 20 assists in eight of them. Despite the distractions that accompanied that trade and the subsequent rumours surrounding his future with the team, Lowry has been a pro. "With all the trade rumours and all the bull thats going around, hes been positive and upbeat and a leader from that standpoint," credited Casey. "He could have gone in a shell and kind of isolated himself from everybody else but hes dived in and been positive about it, so Im happy for him and proud of him for handling himself that way." For Lowry, it seems like a no-brainer. Hes auditioning for potential suitors - should general manager Masai Ujiri find an offer that catches his eye - hes playing for a new contract in the offseason and, most importantly, hes too ccompetitive, too prideful to sulk.dddddddddddd "What do you want me to do?" he asked rhetorically. "Its my job, its a business. Be mad? It is what it is to me. Im really not worried about it." After a fourth-quarter comeback sealed a victory in New York on Friday, the Raptors carried their momentum over in front of a sold-out Air Canada Centre crowd 24 hours later. They took an early lead and never relinquished it, despite a late push from the visitors, playing without Carmelo Anthony - the leagues second-leading scorer - for the second straight night. As the Knicks made their final run, to no avail, frustrated big man Tyson Chandler got tangled up with Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas. It was Lowry who stepped in to defend his young teammate and prevent any altercation. "Im not a vocal leader, Im more of an action leader," said Lowry, who has scored 20 or more in four of the last five games. "Weve got a bunch of guys in this locker room who are soldiers and troupers and theyre going to follow whoevers leading them on the court." With a pair of wins over the Knicks, the Raptors extended their lead in the Atlantic Division to a full game over Boston, four over Brooklyn and five ahead of New York and Philadelphia. Taking advantage of a weak conference and an injury-plagued division, the Raptors are moving the ball, playing hard on defence and carrying themselves with more confidence than they have in the three-year Casey era. One of the biggest beneficiaries has been sophomore guard Terrence Ross. Ross made a career-best seven three point shots on 11 attempts, scoring 23 points in just under 32 minutes on Saturday. "T-Ross is firing that ball and nobody is even second guessing him when he fires it," Lowry said of his teammate. "Tonight, he was 7-of-11 and, if he went 1-for-11, we would still tell him to shoot the ball. I think he knows that we all have confidence in him and thats playing a big part in the way hes playing." "Hes just playing confident," DeRozan added. "I tell him, ‘Dont go out there second guessing yourself. You have the ability to do anything on that court, you jump higher than everybody on that court, youre a great shooter, you could do so much just use it and dont worry about messing up so much. Thats what hes doing." The Raptors will rest up on Sunday before traveling to Chicago for a meeting with the Bulls on New Years Eve. ' ' '