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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.

Yates edges Porte in mountains to lead Tour of Romandie

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LEYSIN, Switzerland — Simon Yates outlasted Richie Porte to win the Tour de Romandie’s main mountain stage and earn the leader’s yellow jersey on Saturday.

Britain’s Yates easily held off Australian Porte as both clocked the same time for the 163-kilometer (101-mile) trek to Leysin ski station.

Yates, riding for the Orica-Scott team, took a 19-second lead on Porte to start Sunday’s 18-kilometer (11-mile) time trial to Lausanne that ends the six-day race.

Emanual Buchmann of Germany placed third, 20 seconds back, and was third overall, trailing Yates by 38 seconds.

Fabio Felline of Italy fell to fourth overall, 44 seconds back, after holding the lead since Tuesday.

Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome dropped from the main group five kilometers (three miles) from the finish and lost more than one minute to Yates.

American cyclist Chad Young dies from injuries sustained in crash

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Promising cyclist Chad Young died from injuries sustained during a high-speed crash at the Tour of Gila, the first American rider to die in a prominent North American stage race in nearly two decades. Young was 21.

His team, Axeon Hagens Berman, said Young died late Friday in Tucson, Arizona.

The team said he was involved in a crash last Sunday during the queen stage of the New Mexico race. Medics were on the scene within minutes and Young was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson, where he was initially listed in stable condition.

Young was downgraded to critical on Tuesday when the extent of his head injuries became clear.

The last American rider to die from injuries sustained in a major North American competition was Nicole Reinhart, who crashed during a race in 2000 in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Collegiate rider Randall Fox was killed last year during a race near Seattle.