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Stripped Olympic skeleton champ gets last place after mishap (video)

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It might have been Alexander Tretiyakov‘s last skeleton run. It was not one to remember.

Tretiyakov, the Russian stripped of his Sochi gold medal and banned from the Olympics for life as part of a doping scandal, had an all-time blunder at the start of a World Cup race in Igls, Austria, on Friday.

Tretiyakov’s sled came out of the ice groove on his push start (similar to American John Daly in Sochi). Adding injury to insult, Tretiyakov fell on the ice before scrambling onto his sled.

Tretiyakov ended up 3.54 seconds behind the leader, in 34th place out of 34 sleds. He didn’t qualify for the 20-man second run.

Latvian Martins Dukurs, who stands to inherit the Sochi gold medal, won his 50th career World Cup. Full results are here.

Tretiyakov said afterward it may have been the final run of his career, according to R-Sport.

Why? Because Tretiyakov knows that at any moment he could be banned from international competition to go along with his Olympic doping ban.

Tretiyakov has denied cheating and is appealing the Olympic ban (along with another two dozen banned Russians across several sports).

The World Cup takes a holiday break until the first week of January, leaving Tretiyakov very uncertain to be allowed to race at the next event.

Later Friday, Russian Elena Nikitina notched her first win since her Sochi bronze medal was stripped and she was banned from the Olympics for life for doping by the IOC last month.

Nikitina, who also denied wrongdoing and has appealed, celebrated by pointing to the back of her helmet, which read, “Russia Means Strong.”

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MORE: Ghana, Nigeria skeleton racers set for Olympic berths

New Zealand sweeps Rugby World Cup Sevens, celebrates with haka

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SAN FRANCISCO — New Zealand has won a World Cup Sevens double for the second time after the men’s team beat England 33-12 in San Francisco on Sunday to follow the Black Ferns’ win in the women’s tournament.

The New Zealand teams won the men’s and women’s titles in Russia in 2013 and again were dominant.

Sione Molia scored two of New Zealand’s five tries in the men’s final, and South Africa held off Olympic champion Fiji 24-19 to take bronze.

The weekend results mean New Zealanders are the men’s and women’s World Cup holders in the traditional 15-a-side rugby and the sevens.

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MORE: U.S. women get fourth at Rugby World Cup Sevens

Tour de France rider expelled for punching cyclist

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CARCASSONNE, FRANCE (AP) — Team Sky rider Gianni Moscon was expelled from the Tour de France on Sunday after he appeared to deliberately hit a fellow cyclist during the race.

The Italian lashed out at French rider Elie Gesbert of Team Fortuneo while both were competing during Stage 15 from Millau to Carcassonne.

“I’m sorry for today’s incident, and I totally regret my actions,” Moscon said. “I would like to personally apologize to Elie Gesbert…. What happened was wrong and was a bad example coming from me to everyone, and I want to publicly apologize. … I make no excuse for it and accept the decision of the race organizers.”

Team Sky director Dave Brailsford said the team would consider taking further action against Moscon after the Tour concludes next weekend.

The 24-year-old Moscon was suspended by Sky for six weeks last year for using a racial slur against an opponent.

His expulsion leaves Sky with seven riders.

Sky’s Geraint Thomas is leading the race ahead of teammate Chris Froome after 15 of 21 stages.

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