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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.

Van Avermaet wins Gent-Wevelgem for two victories in three days

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GENT, Belgium (AP) Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet won his second race in three days Sunday, beating fellow Belgian Jens Keukeleire in a two-man sprint finish to take the Gent-Wevelgem classic.

World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won last year’s race, finished third.

The 249-kilometer (154.7-mile) race through Belgium included two ascents of the steep, cobbled Kemmelberg hill, one of the iconic climbs of the spring classics season.

Last year’s race was overshadowed by the death of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie after a fall.

Sagan fell Friday in the E3 Harelbeke, which Van Avermaet also won to add to his victory last month in Het Nieuwsblad.

Alejandro Valverde wins his second Tour of Catalonia

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain won his second Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.

Valverde secured the victory by finishing first in the 139-kilometer (86-mile) seventh stage, perfectly timing his final sprint at a hilltop overlooking Barcelona.

He finished the weeklong race more than one minute ahead of Alberto Contador and Marc Soler, who closed out the all-Spanish podium.

Valverde won despite receiving a one-minute time penalty Wednesday after race officials ruled that some Movistar riders pushed one another in Tuesday’s team time trial.

The 36-year-old Valverde had won two other stages.

Valverde also won the race in northeastern Spain in 2009, the same year he clinched the Spanish Vuelta for his only Grand Tour title.

Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell out of contention during Saturday’s stage.