Sastre wins as doping mars event again

Tour De France

July 28, 2008

PARIS - Spain's Carlos Sastre won the Tour de France yesterday, with cycling's showpiece event again unable to escape the shadow of doping. Minutes after the victory, it was announced that a rider from Kazakhstan used a banned stimulant.

Dmitriy Fofonov tested positive for a "very heavy dose" of heptaminol after Thursday's 18th stage, said Pierre Bordry, the head of France's anti-doping agency. Fofonov was immediately fired by his Credit Agricole team.

A French police official told the Associated Press that Fofonov was arrested at his team's hotel and held for questioning.

The doping bust was the fourth at this Tour, after three other riders tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO.

Fofonov finished in 19th place.

This is the third straight year a Spaniard captured the Tour. Alberto Contador won last year, and Oscar Pereiro inherited the 2006 title lost by American Floyd Landis in a doping scandal.

Sastre, 33, held his narrow lead over Cadel Evans of Australia, finishing seven seconds behind his main rival for a 58-second victory. Bernhard Kohl of Austria finished 1:13 back in third, the second-tightest podium finish in the 105-year-old race.

"It's very moving," Sastre said, hugging his two children.

The 21st and final stage was won by Gert Steegmans of Belgium. He prevailed in a final sprint from the pack at the end of the 89-mile course from Etampes to the French capital.

The ride was largely ceremonial for Sastre, who all but assured himself victory a day earlier in the final time trial by holding off Evans. He claimed the yellow jersey by winning the toughest Alpine ride this year - Stage 17 into the famed Alpe d'Huez - and held it to the finish.

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