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Yorkshire to host cycling’s road world championships in 2019

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DOHA, Qatar — The northern English county of Yorkshire will host cycling’s road world championships in 2019.

The International Cycling Union made the announcement on Wednesday, during the 2016 road worlds in Doha.

Yorkshire hosted the opening two stages of the Tour de France in 2014 – Leeds-Harrogate, York-Sheffield – and has also staged the three-day Tour de Yorkshire since 2015. Racing will take place across the county during the 2019 road worlds.

The British government is investing 24 million pounds ($29.35 million) in the 2019 event, 15 million pounds ($18.35 million) of which will be used to develop 27 purpose-built cycle-sport facilities across Britain.

“Yorkshire has embraced major cycling events in recent years,” said Tracey Crouch, Britain’s minister for sport, “and I know the county will put on a fantastic show in 2019.”

The next two road world championships will be held in Bergen, Norway, and Innsbruck, Austria.

The UCI also announced that Berlin, Germany, will host the Track World Championships in 2020.

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.