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UCI to test thousands of race bikes for hidden motors

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AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) The International Cycling Union plans to test thousands of bicycles for hidden motors, including at the Tour de France and Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

UCI technical manager Mark Barfield says around 2,500 bikes have been scanned since tests started in January, and the total could reach 12,000 this year.

Barfield says riders who switch bikes mid-race could be targeted.

Demonstrating its testing technology on Tuesday, the UCI says the one hidden motor found – at the cyclo-cross world championships in January – was at the first event where magnetic resistance scans were used.

Rumors of riders using motors have circulated for several years, and were fueled by a French broadcaster last month using thermal imagery.

The UCI insists its test detecting motors, magnets, and batteries is more effective than “flawed” heat-seeking cameras.

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.