Thomas and Froome remain 1-2 in Tour after hilly 14th stage

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MENDE, France – Sky teammates Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome remained 1-2 in the Tour de France after the hilly 14th stage as an anticipated shakeup in the overall standings didn’t come to fruition on Saturday.

Spanish rider Omar Fraile won the stage in the Massif Central by bursting from a group of breakaway riders on the finishing climb.

Fourth-placed Primoz Roglic was the only overall contender to gain time, finishing eight seconds ahead of Thomas, Froome, and third-placed Tom Dumoulin – with all four riders finishing more than 18 minutes behind Fraile, who remained far back in the standings.

Thomas leads four-time champion Froome by 1 minute, 39 seconds. Dumoulin is third, 1:50 behind, and Roglic is fourth, 2:38 back.

Fraile had time to celebrate before crossing the line, finishing six seconds ahead of Julian Alaphilippe, the Frenchman wearing the polka-dot jersey awarded to the Tour’s best climber.

Jasper Stuyven of Belgium finished third, also six seconds back, and three-time world champion Peter Sagan came fourth.

It was the first career victory at the Tour for Fraile, who rides for the Astana team.

The hilly 188-kilometer (117-mile) route from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Mende in southern France passed through the Ardeche gorges, home to cave paintings dating back some 36,000 years.

Stage 15 on Sunday from Millau to Carcassonne is another hilly leg before the race’s second rest day on Monday. Then come the Pyrenees and a possibly decisive individual time trial in the penultimate stage before the traditional finish in Paris next weekend.

 

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.