LIMOGES, France — German rider Marcel Kittel claimed the fourth stage of the Tour de France after a massive sprint on Tuesday.
Frenchman Bryan Coquard looked set to post his first stage win at cycling’s showpiece event until Kittel resisted his rival’s late surge and beat him by a whisker.
It was Kittel’s ninth stage win at the Tour.
The longest stage of the race took the Peloton from Saumur to Limoges in central France on a 237.5-kilometer ride.
Early attackers built up a six-minute lead but their 200-kilometer breakaway was reined in by the pack.
World champion Peter Sagan kept the yellow jersey.
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.”
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.