Quintana wins Tour of Romandie; Albasini gets stage win

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GENEVA — Nairo Quintana protected his overall lead to win the Tour of Romandie on Sunday after a final stage won by race specialist Michael Albasini.

Colombian Quintana rode safely in the pack to keep his 19-second lead over Thibaut Pinot of France. Jon Izagirre of Spain was third.

The Romandie race is a proven Tour de France trial and Quintana, a two-time runner-up, is targeting cycling’s biggest prize in July. His six-day Romandie victory followed the seven-day Tour of Catalonia title he won in March.

Albasini was strongest in a four-rider break that finished the flat 177-kilometer (110-mile) ride into Geneva barely ahead of the pack.

The 35-year-old Swiss edged Andrey Amador of Costa Rica and third-placed Wilco Kelderman of the Netherlands to get his sixth Romandie stage win since 2014.

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.