SUPERDEVOLUY, France (AP) Chris Froome warmed up for the Tour de France by winning the Criterium du Dauphine stage race for the third time on Sunday.
It may prove to be a good omen for Froome, because his other Dauphine wins were in 2013 and 2015 – the years he also won the Tour, which starts July 2.
“It’s a massive satisfaction to win the Dauphine for the third time, it’s a very important race,” the 31-year-old Froome said. “Coming into this week, I was just happy fighting for the podium. It’s a confidence booster ahead of the Tour de France, but there’s still some work to do.”
Froome finished with a winning margin of 12 seconds over Frenchman Romain Bardet, while Tour rival Alberto Contador of Spain was fifth overall.
On a good day for British riders, Stephen Cummings won the final stage thanks to a solo breakaway.
Cummings secured his first ever stage win on the Dauphine after breaking away 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the end of the mountainous 151-kilometer ( 94-mile) ride to the Alpine ski resort of Superdevoluy, beating Irishman Daniel Martin and Bardet by four minutes.
Martin finished third in the standings, while former Sky teammate and key Tour support rider Richie Porte of Australia was in fourth place overall.
AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) Brazilian team Soul Brasil Pro Cycling faces another ban from racing after two more riders were implicated in doping.
The International Cycling Union says the team will be judged by its disciplinary panel which can impose bans of up to one year.
Cycling rules allow teams to be suspended if two riders are caught doping in a one-year period.
In December, the team’s riders were suspended for 55 days after three cases involving the banned blood booster CERA since July. They included Kleber Ramos of Brazil, who competed in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic road race.
The UCI says the latest cases involve biological passport results for Alex Correia Diniz, who is provisionally suspended, and an allegation against Otavio Bulgarelli of tampering with a doping sample.
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.