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Nairo Quintana wins Tirreno-Adriatico for second time in three years

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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Nairo Quintana won the Tirreno-Adriatico race for a second time in three years on Tuesday, while Rohan Dennis was fastest on the final stage, an individual time trial around San Benedetto del Tronto.

Quintana had started the day with a 50-second advantage over Thibaut Pinot and the Colombian rider’s 45th place finish, 41 seconds behind Dennis was enough to secure the overall victory.

“The Tirreno-Adriatico is a race I like very much,” said Quintana, who won it in 2015. “I’m happy to win it for the second time, and repay my team for the efforts they did for me.

“It was a fast time trial today. I was never worried because the seconds were in my advantage before the start.”

Dennis was three seconds faster than Jos van Emden on the 10-kilometer (6-mile) course to move into second place overall, 25 seconds behind Quintana.

“It’s been a great week for BMC as we started with a team time trial victory and we finish with an individual time trial victory,” said Dennis, who is Australia’s national time trial champion. “We’ve had some ups and downs but overall it’s very good.

“It was a tough course today with the headwind but I managed to keep some strength for the second half of the race.”

Pinot ended up third overall, 36 seconds behind Quintana.

Michael Hepburn of Australia was third on the day, just behind Van Emden.

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.