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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.

Egan Bernal wins Paris-Nice race after lively final stage

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NICE, France (AP) Team Sky rider Egan Bernal won the Paris-Nice weeklong race for his most prestigious title so far after resisting a bold offensive from fellow Colombian Nairo Quintana in Sunday’s final stage.

Quintana secured a second-placed finish after Spain’s Ion Izagirre won the eighth stage on the “Promenade des Anglais” along the Mediterranean Sea.

The 22-year-old Bernal, one of the most promising riders of his generation, moved into the overall lead after Saturday’s penultimate stage at the summit of the Col de Turini.

Quintana’s efforts nearly paid off but the climber had to be content with a runner-up finish, 39 seconds behind Bernal. Michal Kwiatkowski, who also rides for Team Sky, completed the podium.

Quintana made his move on the Cote de Peille and led a group of 12 riders at the top of the climb. Quintana had a 55-second lead over Bernal at some point but a lack of cooperation within the breakaway group in the descent to Nice proved costly for the former Giro and Vuelta champion.

Izagirre secured the stage’s win by dropping his breakaway companions in the finale.

Bernal secured a sixth victory in seven years for Team Sky in Paris-Nice.

Peter Sagan to start Tour of California

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LOS ANGELES — Three-time world champion Peter Sagan and former Tour of California champion George Bennett will be at the start line when the most prestigious cycling race in the U.S. begins May 12.

Race organizers announced the men’s and women’s teams and some of their riders Thursday.

Sagan will be back to lead BORA-hansgrohe while adding to his record 16 stage wins, while former overall winner Tejay van Garderen will be back with EF Education First Pro Cycling. Other stars set to compete include Marcel Kittel, Mark Cavendish and Rohan Dennis.

Olympic gold medalist and world champion Anna Van der Breggen and reigning race champ Katie Hall will be back to headline the women’s race, which begins May 16.

Both races will end May 18 in Pasadena.