Huffman wins from breakaway in Stage 4 of Tour of California

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SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) American rider Evan Huffman won from a five-man breakaway that barely survived a hard-chasing peloton to win the fourth stage of the Tour of California on Wednesday.

Huffman was followed across the line by Rally Cycling teammate Rob Britton in a banner day for the U.S.-based squad that was granted one of the wild cards to compete in the race.

Lennard Hofstede, Mathias Le Turnier and Gavin Mannion followed them across after spending about 98 of the 99 miles from Santa Barbara in the breakaway. Their advantage reached nine minutes before the peloton finally began giving serious chase, and by that point it was too late.

Peter Sagan led the field across the line 13 seconds behind the leaders.

Rafal Majka retained his overall lead, two seconds ahead of George Bennett, heading into the potentially decisive climb up Mount Baldy in the fifth stage Thursday.

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.