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SAINT-QUENTIN, France: Germany’s André Greipel claimed his second win in as many days yesterday as the Tour de France was rocked by the doping controversy swirling around seven-time winner Lance Armstrong.
Lotto rider Greipel had claimed his first win of this year’s race on Wednesday when he dominated a small bunch sprint devoid of rival Mark Cavendish after the Briton suffered a crash.
This time Cavendish was in the mix but after a tough, slightly uphill finish that was arguably more suited to his rivals, the Team Sky fast man could only finish fifth.
Greipel, taking his third win of the race after his maiden win ahead of Cavendish last year, beat Australia’s Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) at the end of the 196km ride with Argentina’s Juan José Haedo of Saxo Bank in third.
“I’m very happy with this second win and I want to say thank you to my teammates for all their hard work,” said Greipel, who was quick to affirm his status as one of Cavendish’s main threats this year. “I don’t know why everyone believes I can’t beat him. I already beat him last year and while he crashed yesterday, today he was there.”
Before the peloton set off from Rouen an explosive report appeared in a Dutch newspaper claiming four former teammates of Armstrong had testified against the Texan and were facing six-month bans.
Armstrong, who has consistently denied using performance-enhancing drugs, was notified recently that he has been charged with doping by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada).
De Telegraaf alleged the quartet competing in this year’s race – Americans George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie – have confessed to doping and had given evidence against him. Hincapie, a teammate of Australian Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, refused to directly comment on the allegation ahead of yesterday’s stage. “I’m just disappointed this is being brought up again,” said Hincapie, the only rider to accompany Armstrong in all seven of his triumphant Tour wins.
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellera held onto the leader’s yellow jersey by seven seconds from Briton Bradley Wiggins with Australia’s defending champion Cadel Evans in seventh, at 17sec. The RadioShack rider will spend his 27th day in the yellow jersey today, meaning he will overtake Rene Vietto’s record for owning the biggest collection of Tour leader’s jerseys for someone who hasn’t won the overall title. – Sapa-AFP