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Froome wins Romandie mountain stage, Quintana leads overall

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VILLARS-SUR-OLLON, Switzerland —¬†Chris Froome rode solo to win a rain-swept mountain stage Saturday at the Tour of Romandie, and Colombian Nairo Quintana retained the overall lead with one day left.

Britain’s Froome shook off Tejay van Garderen of the United States climbing to the Villars-sur-Ollon ski station, giving the two-time Romandie winner some success after a puncture on Thursday cost him 17 minutes.

Froome finished four seconds ahead of an elite group, headed by Jon Izagirre of Spain, that also included Quintana and defending champion Ilnur Zakarin of Russia.

Thibaut Pinot of France used a time bonus for placing third to cut Quintana’s overall lead to 19 seconds. Izagirre is third overall, 23 seconds back.

Quintana will be difficult to overhaul Sunday in a mostly flat 177-kilometer (110-mile) ride into Geneva.

World champ Peter Sagan to race in Tour Down Under

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ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Three-time world road race champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia has confirmed he will compete in the Tour Down Under in January, the opening World Tour event of the season.

Sagan won the world title last month for the third straight year, becoming the first cyclist to do so. He competed in the Tour Down Under for the first time last year, finishing second on three stages behind Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan.

Sagan, who rides for the BORA-hansgrohe team, said the six-stage Tour Down Under is “the perfect start to the UCI World Tour season each year … a challenging and tough course, warm weather and the passionate fans that cheer for us day in day out no matter what.”

Former Olympic cycling champ fired after positive drug test

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) Former Olympic road cycling champion Samuel Sanchez, who returned a positive doping test in August, had his B-sample confirmed Wednesday and was promptly fired by the BMC Racing Team.

Sanchez’s out-of-competition test revealed growth hormone-releasing peptide 2, or GHRP-2, a drug that increases a body’s level of growth hormone. Several cyclists have tested positive for the drug, among them Italian rider Stefano Pirazzi, who was given a four-year ban earlier this week.

The U.S.-based BMC Team said in a statement Wednesday that it was adhering to its zero-tolerance policy toward doping by terminating the Spaniard’s contract “with immediate effect.”

The 39-year-old Sanchez, who had been provisionally suspended, won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games.