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Carapaz wins 7th stage as Yates maintains Giro d’Italia lead

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MONTEVERGINE, Italy (AP) Richard Carapaz pulled off a superb final attack to win the eighth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday, and British rider Simon Yates remained in the overall lead after the second mountain finish.

Carapaz stormed the end of the final climb to pass Koen Bouwman, who led for most of the day. The Movistar cyclist claimed his first win in a Grand Tour, and the first for Ecuador.

Davide Formolo led the peloton over the line to finish second, seven seconds behind. Thibaut Pinot was third.

“I worked a lot before the Giro,” Carapaz said. “Having the first Grand Tour win, it’s emotional.

“I had good legs, so I decided to attack from far out, two kilometers to go. I decided it was the right time to go alone, because I knew I couldn’t win in a sprint.”

There was an early break of eight cyclists, and Mads Pedersen was dropped before the halfway stage.

The gap to the remaining seven hovered around the five-minute mark before the peloton began to reel them in.

Their advantage stood at just over two minutes as they started up the 15-kilometer climb to the finish, with the rain lashing down, and they were eventually caught.

Bouwman, who attacked from the breakaway early in the climb, was the last to be swept up as Carapaz passed him in the final kilometer.

The general classification was unchanged and Yates, who won the young rider classification at last year’s Tour de France, retained his 16-second advantage over defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

“We wanted to be in front for the climb,” Yates said. “We knew because of the rain in the final, the hairpins would be very slippery. We wanted to take them in the front. We rode an even tempo. It was a very hard start, so maybe the breakaway didn’t have good enough legs to stay away.

“Maybe I would have liked to take some bonus seconds in the final, but I got a little boxed in and I couldn’t get out to sprint. It’s one of those things.”

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome also finished in the main group despite being involved in another crash which left him with a bloody elbow. He remained 1 minute, 10 seconds behind, but slipped to ninth place.

Sunday’s ninth stage has another mountain finish, at the end of a 225-kilometer (140-mile) route from Pesco Sannita up to Gran Sasso d’Italia.

The Giro ends in Rome on May 27.

Andre Cardoso banned four years for doping

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AIGLE, Switzerland — The International Cycling Union says it imposed a four-year ban on Portuguese rider Andre Cardoso for doping with EPO ahead of the 2017 Tour de France.

The UCI says its anti-doping tribunal gave its verdict, in a case opened almost 17 months ago.

Cardoso tested positive for the endurance boosting hormone two weeks before the Tour.

He was suspended by Trek-Segafredo, which selected Cardoso as a specialist climber to support team leader Alberto Contador.

The 34-year-old Cardoso had career top-20 finishes in the Giro d’Italia and Spanish Vuelta, and competed in the road races at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Pro riders union upset by doping control during cycling gala

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PARIS — The professional cyclists’ union is urging anti-doping authorities to treat athletes in a more respectful manner after a Belgian rider was forced to leave a cycling gala to follow anti-doping inspectors for an out-of-competition test.

Pieter Serry, who rides for the Quick Step team, missed the Gala of the Flandrien on Tuesday after doping inspectors came to the ceremony to take samples.

In a statement published Wednesday, the riders’ association (CPA) complained about “another case of non-respect for the privacy of the riders” and criticized the odd timing of some doping controls.

“There have been cases reported where the riders were checked on their wedding day, during a funeral or on their child’s first day of school,” said Gianni Bugno, the president of the CPA. “Now we read about the case of Pieter Serry, controlled in the offseason, out of the hour scheduled, while at the Flemish cycling festival. … The riders pay 2 percent of their prizes to make these controls possible, they are the only athletes in the world who pay the anti-doping from their own pockets,” Bugno said. “The riders respect the measures required for the fight against doping, but at least they ask for the respect of their private life in return.”

Belgian media quoted Serry as saying he had already been tested two weeks ago and told antidoping authorities he was available from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. at his home.

“I understand that there must be checks and that people have to do their work, but two checks immediately after each other, out of season, is simply a waste of money. I feel like a prisoner with an ankle monitor,” Serry was quoted as saying.

The CPA added it will try to find out whether it was the Belgian anti-doping agency, the national cycling federation or Cycling’s anti-doping foundation (CADF) which ordered Serry’s test.

“In addition, the CPA will present an official request to all the bodies involved in the fight against doping and the UCI to establish a code of conduct for the controllers, to ensure the respect for the private life of the athletes, at least in certain circumstances,” the CPA said.