Kittel wins 2nd successive Giro stage to take overall lead

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ARNHEM, Netherlands — Another superb performance from Marcel Kittel saw the German cyclist claim a second successive sprint victory at the Giro d’Italia and replace Tom Dumoulin as the overall leader after the third stage on Sunday.

Set up perfectly by his Etixx-QuickStep teammates, Kittel opened his sprint 200 meters out and crossed the line several bike lengths ahead of Elia Viviani of Italy.

Another Italian cyclist, Giacomo Nizzolo, was third on the 190-kilometer (118-mile) route from Nijmegen to Arnhem.

The bonus seconds Kittel earned for the stage win moved him nine seconds ahead of Dumoulin. It is 10 years since a German wore the leader’s pink jersey.

Andrey Amador moved into third, 15 seconds behind Kittel.

Monday is a rest day as the Giro returns to Italy.

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.