Zakarin wins grueling Stage 17 at Tour de France

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FINHAUT-EMOSSON, Switzerland — Ilnur Zakarin won the first Alpine stage of the Tour de France after using a late attack in the final climb on Wednesday.

Zakarin was part of a breakaway that formed early in the 184.5-kilometer (114.6-mile) 17th stage from Bern to the artificial lake of Finhaut-Emosson in Switzerland.

After Rafal Majka and Jarlinson Pantano tried to move away from the leading pack on the descent of the Col de La Forclaz, the Russian cyclist dropped them with a furious attack with 6.5 kilometers left.

It was Zakarin’s first stage win at cycling’s biggest event.

Race leader Chris Froome was riding several minutes behind in a group including main rivals Bauke Mollema and Nairo Quintana.

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.