Chris Froome wins mountain time trial, increases Tour de France lead

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MEGEVE, France — Chris Froome won a mountain time trial to extend his overall lead at the Tour de France in the 18th stage on Thursday.

Taking his second stage win of this year’s Tour, Froome finished 21 seconds ahead of Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin over the 17-kilometer (10.5-mile) route from Sallanches to the Megeve ski resort — which featured majestic views of Mont Blanc.

It was the Tour’s first mountain time trial since the 2004 race against the clock up l’Alpe d’Huez. Besides the flat opening four kilometers (2.5 miles) and a short descent at the finish, it was entirely uphill.

Two more Alpine stages remain before Sunday’s mostly ceremonial finish on the Champs-Elysees.

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.