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Italy’s Davide Cimolai wins opening stage of Tour of Catalonia

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CALELLA, Spain (AP) Davide Cimolai of Italy won the opening stage of the Tour of Catalonia by less than a wheel on Monday.

The FDJ rider pushed his wheel just in front of Nacer Bouhanni as the two broke away in the final meters of the 179-kilometer (111-mile) mountainous stage starting and ending in the coastal town of Calella.

“The objective was to win one stage, and now I work for the team,” Cimolai said after finishing the stage in 4 1/2 hours.

It was his second career win at the Tour of Catalonia after also winning a stage last year.

Tour de France winner Chris Froome and top rivals Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde finished safely in the peloton.

The stage on Tuesday is a 41-kilometer (25-mile) team time trial to and from Banyoles.

The week-long race in northeastern Spain concludes on Sunday in Barcelona.

Froome finishes 10th in Ruta del Sol, Wellens wins

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MADRID (AP) Chris Froome finished Spain’s Ruta del Sol race in 10th place behind winner Tim Wellens on Sunday.

The five-stage race in southern Spain was Froome’s first event since the four-time Tour de France winner was found to have failed a doping test at last year’s Spanish Vuelta.

Froome, who denies any wrongdoing, has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.

Wellens, a Belgian rider for Lotto-Soudal, defended his lead over the final day’s time trial.

Wout Poels, of Froome’s Sky Team, was second at eight seconds behind.

Froome, who won the event in 2015, finished 1 minute, 57 seconds behind. He started the time trial on the final day in 14th after a puncture toward the end of Saturday’s fourth stage.

Froome returns to racing despite doping investigation

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MALAGA, Spain (AP) Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome is returning to racing on Wednesday despite being under investigation by cycling’s world governing body for failing a doping test.

Froome is participating in the five-day Ruta del Sol in southern Spain, an event he won in 2015.

“I know I have done nothing wrong, that’s my starting point,” Froome said. “There is a process in place for me to be up to demonstrate that, and that’s obviously what I intend to do.”

Froome has been ordered to explain to the International Cycling Union why a urine sample he provided at the Spanish Vuelta in September showed a concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol at twice the permitted level.

He said he has received a lot of support from other riders so far, and that he is trying to solve the issue as fast as possible.

“I do believe that when all the facts are out there I think people will see it from my point of view,” Froome said.

If found guilty of doping, the British rider could lose his Vuelta title and be suspended for a long period.