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Sailing guru in as performance director at British Cycling

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MANCHESTER, England — One of the key figures behind Britain’s recent success in Olympic sailing has been hired as performance director at the country’s cycling federation.

Stephen Park’s appointment by British Cycling was announced on Friday, at a time of upheaval in the country’s most successful Olympic sport.

British Cycling is currently without a technical director after Shane Sutton’s resignation in April this year over allegations of discrimination. The organization has also been defending its integrity in recent weeks amid allegations of wrongdoing, which led to its leaders being questioned at British parliamentary doping hearings on Monday. UK Anti-Doping officials have also visited British Cycling headquarters.

The 48-year-old Park, who isn’t a specialist in cycling, becomes British Cycling’s first performance director since Dave Brailsford’s departure in April 2014 to concentrate solely on Team Sky. His main task will be to continue Britain’s dominance of Olympic cycling, with the country winning six gold medals from 10 track events at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

In his role as British Sailing’s Olympics manager, Park led Britain’s sailors to the top of the Olympic medal table in Rio and helped Britain amass 23 Olympic and Paralympic medals in his 15 years at the helm.

“Clearly cycling poses very different challenges to sailing,” Park said, “but it’s a sport I am very passionate about from a personal perspective.”

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.

Alejandro Valverde wins his second Tour of Catalonia

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Alejandro Valverde of Spain won his second Tour of Catalonia on Sunday.

Valverde secured the victory by finishing first in the 139-kilometer (86-mile) seventh stage, perfectly timing his final sprint at a hilltop overlooking Barcelona.

He finished the weeklong race more than one minute ahead of Alberto Contador and Marc Soler, who closed out the all-Spanish podium.

Valverde won despite receiving a one-minute time penalty Wednesday after race officials ruled that some Movistar riders pushed one another in Tuesday’s team time trial.

The 36-year-old Valverde had won two other stages.

Valverde also won the race in northeastern Spain in 2009, the same year he clinched the Spanish Vuelta for his only Grand Tour title.

Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome fell out of contention during Saturday’s stage.