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UCI bans British cyclist Simon Yates for 4 months

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AIGLE, Switzerland — The International Cycling Union says it banned British rider Simon Yates for four months for a positive test for a prohibited substance.

The UCI says the ban for a “non-intentional” rules violation runs through July 11, barring Yates from selection for the Tour de France which starts on July 2.

Yates completed the Tour last year – finishing 89th – and was expected to be picked by the Orica-GreenEdge team.

The 23-year-old Yates tested positive for Terbutaline during the Paris-Nice stage race in March.

The Australia-based team said a doctor erred by not formally requesting permission for Yates to use an asthma inhaler as medication.

The UCI says the case was “resolved via an acceptance of consequences” agreement.

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.