Cyclist Armitstead wins appeal against doping violations

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LONDON — British cyclist Lizzie Armitstead won an appeal against an anti-doping violation, clearing the world road race champion to compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Armitstead missed three doping tests in a 12-month period, triggering a charge by U.K. Anti-Doping, a provisional suspension and the possibility of a two-year ban.

She appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and a statement released on Armitstead’s behalf on Monday said the first missed test — from August 2015 — was declared void by CAS because UKAD’s doping control officer had failed to follow procedure.

On Tuesday, UKAD confirmed the ruling by CAS.

“We respect the outcome of the CAS hearing,” said UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead, who added that the body was awaiting the written decision on why the violation was not upheld.

Armitstead said she has “always been and will always be a clean athlete and have been vocal in my anti-doping stance throughout my career.”

“I am pleased that CAS has accepted my position, having provided detailed information demonstrating the situation around my strikes,” she said in her statement.

The 27-year-old Armitstead won a silver medal in the road race at the London Games in 2012 and is one of the favorites in Rio. She won gold at the road world championships in the United States in September.

Armitstead’s first missed test came at a World Cup event in Sweden. The second was an administrative failure on Oct. 5 and the third was a missed test on June 9 following “an emergency change of plans due to a serious illness within her family.”

She was charged by UKAD with three whereabouts failures on July 11.

Sapstead said Armitstead “chose not to challenge the first and second Whereabouts Failures at the time they were asserted against her.”

“At the CAS hearing, Ms. Armitstead raised a defense in relation to the first Whereabouts Failure, which was accepted by the Panel,” Sapstead said.

Armitstead did not dispute the last two faults at CAS.

UKAD has a policy of not publicly disclosing provisional suspensions, or details of cases, until an anti-doping rule violation has deemed to have been committed.

Brazilian cycling team faces 2nd ban for persistent doping

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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.

Van Avermaet wins Gent-Wevelgem for two victories in three days

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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.