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Yves Lampaert wins Dwars door Vlaanderen ahead of teammate Philippe Gilbert

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WAREGEM, Belgium — Belgium’s Yves Lampaert won the Dwars door Vlaanderen race on Wednesday ahead of former world champion Philippe Gilbert as the Quick-Step Floors team secured a 1-2 finish in the cobbled road event.

The Belgian team rode a perfect tactical race, with Gilbert triggering the decisive breakaway before the 25-year-old Lampaert, a former judoka who took up cycling at the age of 17, came through for the biggest victory of his career.

Gilbert easily won the sprint for the runner-up spot, with Alexey Lutsenko completing the podium ahead of Luke Durbridge.

The race was marred by an accident involving American rider Kiel Reijnen, who was taken to the hospital after crashing just before the Eikenberg climb, about 60 kilometers from the finish. The Trek-Segafredo rider was squeezed off the side of the road, and went over his handlebars and into a ditch.

His team later tweeted that Reijnen “appears to be okay, with nothing serious” and that “They are doing X-rays to be sure.”

Gilbert, the Belgian champion, attacked with 77.5 kilometers to go, catching up with six breakaway riders as a group of 21 formed at the front. With pre-race favorites Sep Vanmarcke and Arnaud Demare having missed the break, their Cannondale and FDJ teams organized the chase as the front-runners quickly opened up a 35-second lead.

Vanmarcke accelerated in the Oude-Kwaremont, a cobbled climb with a maximum gradient of 11 per cent, but the classics specialist could not close the gap.

Gilbert attacked again in the Paterberg, an even steeper climb, reducing the leading group to an elite four-man group including Lampaert, Lutsenko and Durbridge.

The quartet stayed together until the final 10 kilometers, when Gilbert tested his rivals with several unsuccessful accelerations before Lampaert’s attack took him across the line first.

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.