Dylan Groenewegen silences Fernando Gaviria, Peter Sagan at Tour de France (video)

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Dylan Groenewegen held his right index finger to his lips as he won the seventh stage of the Tour de France. The Dutchman had just silenced the world’s best sprinters, Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan.

Groenewegen, 25 of team LottoNL–Jumbo, surged pased Gaviria in the bunched sprint in Chartres to cap the three-week Grand Tour’s longest stage, 144 miles. It’s his second career Tour de France stage win after he won in Paris on the Champs-Élysées last year.

Gaviria and Sagan, who combined to win four of the first five stages, finished second and third, respectively. Sagan retained the green jersey as top sprinter, though Gaviria cut into the lead.

All of the men racing to wear the yellow jersey in Paris on July 29 finished together in the peloton on Friday. That includes Chris Froome, trying to match the record of five Tour de France titles, as well as 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali.

Belgian Greg Van Avermaet retained his yellow jersey for the fourth straight day, doubling his lead to six seconds over Brit Geraint Thomas. The Rio Olympic road race champion is expected to cede the overall race lead next week, when the Tour traverses cobblestones and then climbs the Alps.

Van Avermaet hopes he will hand the jersey to BMC teammate Richie Porte of Australia.

The Tour de France continues Saturday with a flat stage eight, live on NBC and NBC Sports Gold (full broadcast schedule here).

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TOUR DE FRANCE: StandingsTV Schedule | Riders to Watch

Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, banned four years

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Kenyan Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m champion and a three-time world champ, was banned four years after testing positive for EPO in November 2017, according to track and field’s doping watchdog organization.

The ban is backdated to Feb. 3, 2018, when the 29-year-old was provisionally suspended after the failed test.

Kiprop repeatedly denied doping since last May, when he first acknowledged the positive test. Most recently, a 3,000-word defense from his lawyer was posted on Kiprop’s Facebook page.

Kiprop’s defenses included saying he was a victim of extortion and that he was offered “a reward” of becoming an anti-doping ambassador if he admitted guilt. The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the IAAF’s independent organization to monitor doping and corruption, denied the latter last May.

A disciplinary panel dismissed six defenses from exonerating him, including the possibility his sample was spiked, in handing out the four-year ban.

Kiprop, the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade, can appeal the ban.

At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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Maggie Nichols is second woman in 20 years to repeat as NCAA all-around champ

Maggie Nichols
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Oklahoma junior and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols became the first woman to repeat as NCAA all-around champion in 12 years, returning from a heel injury to compete on all four events for the first time since January on Friday.

Nichols, a Rio Olympic hopeful before being beset by a torn meniscus in 2016, joined 2004 Olympic silver medalist Courtney Kupets as the only women to win back-to-back NCAA all-arounds in the 2000s.

A junior, Nichols can next year join Jenny Hansen as the only women to three-peat in NCAA history.

Oklahoma goes for a third team title in four years on Saturday night against UCLA (featuring Olympic champions Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross), LSU and Denver.

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NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships Individual Results
All-Around
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma) — 39.7125
2. Lexy Ramler (Minnesota) — 39.6625
2. Kyla Ross (UCLA) — 39.6625
4. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 39.65
5. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 39.6

Vault
1. Kennedi Edney (LSU) — 9.95
1. Derrian Gobourne (Auburn)
1. Maggie Nichols (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)

Uneven Bars
1. Sarah Finnegan (LSU) — 9.95

Balance Beam
1. Natalie Wojcik (Michigan) — 9.95

Floor Exercise
1. Alicia Boren (Florida) — 9.95
1. Lynnzee Brown (Denver)
1. Brenna Dowell (Oklahoma)
1. Kyla Ross (UCLA)