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Dideriksen edges favorite Wild in women’s road cycling championships

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DOHA, Qatar — Amalie Dideriksen surprised even herself when her late surge edged her ahead of favorite Kirsten Wild and won the women’s race at the road cycling world championships on Saturday.

Lotta Lepisto of Finland was third with the same time, and defending champion Elizabeth Deignan of Britain fourth.

The 20-year-old Dideriksen was the world junior champion in 2013 and 2014, and finished fifth in the omnium at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. But the quality of the field at the road worlds made her consider only a top-10 finish.

“Winning here is a surprise for me, too,” the Dane said. “I had such good teammates. I had a small crash and they brought me back.”

The Netherlands team was in control heading toward the sprint finish, with Marianne Vos in perfect position to win her fourth road race world title as the group entered the final 300 meters. Her compatriot Wild, considered a Doha specialist having won the Ladies Tour of Qatar four times, then took over.

But Dideriksen, who was 17th with one lap to go, unleashed an even better finish.

The 134-kilometer race started in 35-degree heat, and Japan champion Eri Yonamine was the first to attack.

On the second of seven laps of the man-made island Pearl, Wild crashed, got up quickly, and was soon brought back into the peloton.

Yonamine was joined by Switzerland’s Nicole Hanselmann up front, and the duo was ahead by 40 seconds with 84 kilometers to go.

There were relentless attacks by Netherlands, Germany, Britain, and Australia, and the leaders were reeled in around the halfway mark.

American Amber Neben attacked with three laps to go, and opened up a gap of 45 seconds with two laps to go, which was brought down to 24 seconds after another lap. But the Dutch, Australians, and British soon took over and were bunched up closing on the finish.

On Sunday, the championships end with the men’s race. Peter Sagan of Slovakia is the defending champion.

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.