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Tejay van Garderen keeps overall lead in Tour of Catalonia

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IGUALADA, Spain — Tejay van Garderen of the U.S. successfully defended his lead in a Tour of Catalonia fourth stage that was cut short by 60 kilometers (37 miles) because of a snowstorm in northeastern Spain.

Nacer Bouhanni of France won the 136-kilometer (84-mile) stage after outsprinting Davide Cimolai of Italy in the final meters. Cimolai beat Bouhanni to win the opening stage on Monday.

Van Garderen finished 33rd with his BMC Racing Team to maintain a 41-second lead over teammate Samuel Sanchez of Spain. Geraint Thomas of Team Sky was another three seconds behind, and Alejandro Valverde was another second back.

Tour de France winner Chris Froome of Team Sky remained four seconds behind Valverde in the overall standings.

Valverde and the rest of the Movistar riders were penalized on Wednesday after some of them pushed each other in the second stage.

The fourth stage was originally to run from Llivia to Igualada, but the snow prompted the race to start 58 kilometers (36 miles) into the route, in the city of Montferrer.

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.