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Dutch Olympian Van Vleuten wins Australian road race

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GEELONG, Australia — Dutch Olympian Annemiek van Vleuten sprinted clear of four other lead riders to win the women’s event in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Saturday.

The Orica-Scott rider was leading the Rio de Janeiro Olympics road race in the last 10 kilometers in August when she crashed on a descent. Van Vleuten suffered back injuries and a severe concussion, but she soon returned to racing.

She said Saturday she is using the Olympic accident to help motivate herself – “I don’t want it to disappear, because it was one of the best races of my life and I don’t want to ever forget about it – only the ending, maybe,” she said.

The race Saturday had 87 starters from 15 teams and covered 113 kilometers (70 miles).

Van Vleuten finished in a time of 3 hours, 4 minutes, 13 seconds. American Ruth Winder was second, Mayuko Hagiwara of Japan third, Lucy Kennedy of Australia fourth and Britain’s Emma Pooley fifth, all in the same time as the winner.

Facing lawsuit, Armstrong says he ‘loved’ wearing Postal

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AUSTIN, Texas —¬†Former cyclist Lance Armstrong says he “loved” representing the U.S. Postal Service, even as the government sues to get back the millions it spent sponsoring his teams.

After years of legal wrangling, the federal government’s $100 million lawsuit against Armstrong is expected to go to trial later this year. The Postal Service sponsored Armstrong’s team when he was six of his seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.

Armstrong later admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and was stripped of those titles.

Speaking on his podcast Tuesday , Armstrong said it was an honor to wear the Postal Service jersey as he competed in Europe and to hear the national anthem played when he won.

Armstrong says the lawsuit can’t “undo all of the good that was done all of those years.” Armstrong claims the government made more money in publicity from the sponsorship than the $32 million it paid his teams.

Russia recruiting Australian cyclist for Olympic team

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MOSCOW — Russia is hoping to recruit former world champion track cyclist Shane Perkins of Australia in a push for medals at the 2020 Olympics.

Perkins said Wednesday in a Facebook statement that he “will now be riding for Russia,” alongside a picture of himself in Russian team gear.

“`The Russian Cycling Federation has given me another opportunity to chase my dreams of Olympic representation in Tokyo 2020 which has special significance to me as my father (Darryl Perkins) raced the Olympics in Tokyo 1964,” he added.

Perkins said his move had the backing of Australian cycling officials. However, Russia said the switch isn’t yet complete.

RCF general secretary Yuri Kucheryavy told Russia’s R-Sport news agency that Perkins was training with Russia’s sprinters recently and “we’re interested in him for the team sprint, where we need a third person,” as well as the keirin.

“We still need to sort everything out officially,” Kucheryavy added.

Perkins has won two gold medals at the track world championships and Olympic individual sprint bronze in 2012, though he didn’t make the team for last year’s games in Rio de Janeiro.

Russia has long been open to naturalizing athletes from neighboring countries but stepped up its program for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, bringing in South Korean speedskater Viktor Ahn and U.S. snowboarder Vic Wild, both of whom won gold medals.

Other Russian recruits include former world boxing champion Roy Jones Jr., who was awarded Russian nationality by a special order of President Vladimir Putin.