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Cyclist Yates can keep racing despite positive doping test

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AIGLE, Switzerland — British cyclist Simon Yates can continue to race despite a positive doping test during the Paris-Nice race, the International Cycling Union said Friday.

An administrative error has been blamed by the Orica GreenEdge team for the positive test on March 12 for Terbutaline, in the form of an asthma inhaler that former track world champion Yates used as part of documented ongoing treatment.

“As per the UCI’s anti-doping rules, such substance does not entail the imposition of a provisional suspension,” the governing body said in a statement.

Orica GreenEdge released a statement on Friday saying it was notified last week about the 23-year-old Yates’ case, and that the inhaler was noted by a team doctor on doping control forms.

But the team said the doctor erred by not formally applying for a therapeutic use exemption for the substance, and so the positive result was flagged by anti-doping authorities.

“This is solely based on a human error that the doctor in question has taken full responsibility for,” Orica GreenEdge said in the statement. “There has been no wrong-doing on Simon Yates’ part.

“The team takes full responsibility for this mistake, and wishes to underline their support for Simon during this process.”

The Orica GreenEdge statement was released in the wake of a brief British Cycling confirmation that a rider tested positive during a race. British Cycling did not identify the rider, or the race, and said the UCI was handling the case.

Orica GreenEdge said it was concerned by the leak of information, and would make no further comment until a full evaluation of the case, “and evidence that the team and Simon Yates are now submitting to the UCI in order to clarify everything.”

Yates can “request and attend the analysis of the B sample,” the UCI said, adding it would not comment further “at this stage.”

In 2013, Yates won gold in the points race at the track world championships in Minsk, Belarus. He finished seventh in the weeklong Paris-Nice race.

Quintana reclaims pink jersey with 2 stages to go in Giro

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PIANCAVALLO, Italy — Nairo Quintana reclaimed the pink jersey from Tom Dumoulin with two stages to go in the Giro d’Italia on Friday, setting up what could be a tense finale in Milan on Sunday.

Dumoulin couldn’t keep up with his main rivals in the final uphill finish of the three-week race and trails Quintana, the 2014 winner from Colombia, by 38 seconds.

Two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali is third overall, 43 seconds behind Quintana.

With Thibaut Pinot of France fourth overall, 53 seconds back, the top four are grouped within less than a minute.

“It’s pretty complicated. We have to adapt the strategy day-by-day,” Quintana said.

Spanish rider Mikel Landa won the 19th stage in a breakaway, finally tasting victory after two second-place finishes and one third-place result.

Landa required nearly five hours to complete the 191-kilometer (119-mile) route from San Candido to Piancavallo. He finished nearly two minutes ahead of Rui Costa, with Stage 17 winner Pierre Rolland crossing third.

On Thursday, Dumoulin criticized the tactics of Quintana and Nibali, saying they were merely racing to make him lose – remarks that earned a sharp rebuke from Nibali.

Before Friday’s stage, Dumoulin apologized to Nibali and the pair shook hands.

If anything, Dumoulin’s comments appeared to have motivated Quintana and Nibali, who temporarily dropped Dumoulin on a downhill section midway through Friday’s stage.

While the Dutchman caught up on the ensuing Sella Chianzutan climb, he didn’t have the legs to keep up on the 15.4-kilometer climb to Piancavallo, which began at an average gradient of nearly 10 percent.

“I had bad legs from the start and I made a rookie mistake at the beginning, sitting at the back of the bunch on the downhill,” Dumoulin said.

“In the final I tried to limit my losses and I did that very well. My team saved me a couple of times, so I have to thank them. Otherwise it would have been a much worse day. Bad legs today, but I hope they’ll be better tomorrow.”

Quintana wore pink for one day after winning Stage 9. Dumoulin then took control by dominating a time trial in Stage 10 and had led ever since.

Quintana has also finished on the Tour de France podium three times.

The penultimate stage on Saturday is the last mountainous leg, a 190-kilometer (118-mile) route from Pordenone to Asiago featuring two first-category climbs – a long 24-kilometer ascent to Monte Grappa and a shorter but steeper 14-kilometer rise to Foza.

The 100th Giro ends on Sunday with an individual time trial from Monza to Milan.

“Tomorrow there will be another important stage and then I’ll give it all in the time trial,” Quintana said.

Lance Armstrong announces engagement to Hansen

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AUSTIN, Texas — Cyclist Lance Armstrong has announced his engagement to longtime partner Anna Hansen.

The couple has been together nearly a decade and have two children. Armstrong announced Wednesday on social media that he’d popped the question and posted a picture of the two of them on a boat on Lake Austin.

Armstrong was previously married to the former Kristin Richard, with whom he has three children. He also was previously engaged to singer Sheryl Crow before his relationship with Hansen.

Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times from 1999-2005 but those titles were later stripped away after revelations of performance-enhancing drug use.