Russian President Vladimir Putin called for dialogue based on equal treatment and mutual respect with the United States on Saturday in a congratulatory message to President Barack Obama marking U.S. Independence Day. Putin said U.S.-Russian relations remained important for solving global crises. The two countries have disagreements over the conflict in Ukraine, defense matters and democracy.
A doping-related scandal involving the tainted Astana team of Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali marred the start of the Grand Boucle in Utrecht on Saturday. Late Friday night, news emerged that Astana's Dutch rider Lars Boom had returned a low level of cortisol in an unofficial test conducted by the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) earlier this week. Under MPCC rules, which are not binding, Astana are obliged to stand down Boom for a period of eight days.