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New Zealanders join Lance Armstrong in early morning ride

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Several hundred cyclists turned out Tuesday for an early morning ride with Lance Armstrong, who is in New Zealand to film a commercial for a local brewery.

Armstrong issued an invitation by social media to join him cycling around Auckland’s waterfront and a crowd estimated at up to 1,000 turned out.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling in 2013 after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

Armstrong told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that he was glad to know he still has some support.

New Zealand’s Lion Breweries has confirmed it brought the 45-year-old Texan to New Zealand. In an internal staff email, the brewer said “we are using Lance to tell a cautionary tale called `The Consequence’, which depicts how much you stand to lose when you pursue success at all costs.”

“We wanted to highlight that actions have consequences and we couldn’t think of anyone better to demonstrate that than Lance,” the email said.

Armstrong arrived in Auckland on Sunday from Houston, telling reporters he is in New Zealand on business but has bought his bike and golf clubs.

He took part in a ride later that day with a small group including New Zealand Ironman triathlon champion Cameron Brown.

Kwiatkowski wins Tirreno-Adriatico, Dennis takes final stage

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy (AP) Michal Kwiatkowski won the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race Tuesday after an impressive time trial on the final stage, which was won by Rohan Dennis.

Kwiatkowski started the individual time trial with an advantage of three seconds over Damiano Caruso and he was quicker than the Italian rider at every time check.

The Polish cyclist eventually finished 24 seconds ahead of Caruso in the overall standings, with Geraint Thomas third, 32 seconds behind his Team Sky teammate.

“I don’t actually know the final result, just that I won, and that’s all that matters,” Kwiatkowski said. “It was very nervous. When I was warming up it started raining so I was scared something might go wrong.

“I had to go with lower tire pressure. It was tricky … I had to be careful but I had good feelings today and that’s why I could finish so well.”

Thomas lost 36 seconds to the leaders following a mechanical failure during the fourth stage of the seven-stage race.

Dennis was quickest on the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. The Australian, who also won the closing time trial last year, was four seconds faster than Jos van Emden and eight ahead of Jonathan Castroviejo.

“To be honest I was nervous about it,” Dennis said. “I was looking at the best times on the course and was thinking, `What do I need to aim for?”‘

Dygert breaks pursuit record 2x at track cycling worlds

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APELDOORN, Netherlands (AP) Chloe Dygert broke the women’s individual pursuit world record twice in winning at the world track cycling championships on Saturday.

Dygert, who anchored the Americans to another team pursuit gold medal on Thursday, lowered the individual record time by two seconds in qualifying. Then in the final against Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands, Dygert took the record down again by 0.012 seconds to retain her crown.

Dygert took the record time from compatriot Sarah Hammer, the five-time world pursuit champion who retired in September.

“Not having Sarah here was strange, she’s been to every world championship with me,” Dygert said. “But I had a (video) call with her before my final ride and that gave me a little bit of extra energy.”

In other finals, Matthew Glaetzer of Australia won the men’s sprint, Miriam Welte of Germany won the women’s 500-meter time trial four years after she first won it, Szyman Sajnok of Poland edged the men’s omnium, and British duo Katie Archibald and Emily Nelson dominated the women’s Madison.

Glaetzer defeated defending champion Denis Dmitriev of Russia en route to the sprint final, where he overpowered rising British talent Jack Carlin 2-0.

Carlin merely hoped to make the quarterfinals in his first world individual sprint race, and had to compose himself on the podium.

“I was very close to throwing up,” he said. “Throwing up during the Australian national anthem probably wouldn’t have gone down very well ahead of the Commonwealth Games (next month).”

Welte followed up her team sprint win on Wednesday with the time trial victory, beating Daria Shmeleva of Russia to reverse the result from last year.

The men’s omnium went to the final lap, with Sajnok and Jan Willem van Schip of the Netherlands tied on points. Sajnok was first across the line. Simone Consonni of Italy was third.

Archibald and Nelson won eight of the 12 sprints in the Madison, all eight in a row. Archibald didn’t defend her omnium title on Friday because she didn’t feel well. Nelson partnered with her only in the morning after Elinor Barker was ruled out after crashing in the omnium. For Nelson, it was her first world title. She and Barker were second last year.