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American McCabe wins crash-marred Stage 3 at Herald Sun Tour

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MELBOURNE, Australia — American Travis McCabe won a crash-marred third stage of the Herald Sun Tour on Saturday, out-sprinting a reduced field over the final kilometers.

McCabe was one of only a handful of riders to emerge from a big pileup with only 1.5 kilometers to go, beating Australians Mitch Docker and Leigh Howard.

“It was hairy. It got really crazy those last few Ks (kilometers), but I pretty much put all my faith and trust in the guys,” McCabe said.

“It feels great. You always get that high when you win and this was no different.”

Orica-Scott’s race leader Damien Howson of Australia and three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) were held up in the smash — the second in the last 3.5 kilometers- but emerged unscathed, setting the scene for a close four-lap sprint at Kinglake in the final stage on Sunday.

Howson continues to lead with Australian Jai Hindley in second place, 38 seconds behind. Froome is in sixth place, 1 minute, 12 seconds behind Howson.

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.