Froome grabs Vuelta lead as Nibali wins 3rd stage

Bahrain-Merida’s Italian cyclist Vincenzo Nibali celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 3rd stage of the 72nd edition of "La Vuelta" Tour of Spain cycling race on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 22 August 2017
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Froome grabs Vuelta lead as Nibali wins 3rd stage

LA VELLA, Andorra: Vincenzo Nibali of Italy won the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta and Tour de France champion Chris Froome took the overall lead after a strong run in the first mountain stage.
Froome was ahead with about half a kilometer to go but Nibali made a charge in the final sprint to clinch the victory at the 158-kilometer (98-mile) stage from Prades to Andorra La Vella. Froome ended third, behind David De La Cruz of Spain.
The British rider has a two-second overall lead over three riders: De la Cruz, Nicolas Roche of Ireland, and Tejay Van Garderen of the US.
Nibali moved to fifth overall, 10 seconds behind Froome.
“It was a difficult stage because of the heat,” Nibali said. “The pace was very fast.”
Froome is trying to become the third rider to complete the Tour-Vuelta double in the same season. He has never won the Vuelta, finishing second three times, including last year.
He led the way at the end of the final climb with about eight kilometers (five miles) to go, but lost time through a technical winding descent to the finish, eventually being caught up by the chasing pack.
Yves Lampaert of Belgium, who was wearing the leader’s red jersey after winning Sunday’s flat second stage, finished only 163rd, dropping to 147th overall.
Three-time Vuelta winner Alberto Contador, who is retiring from cycling after the race, finished 37th to move to 30th overall, more than three minutes from the lead. Marc Fournier of France became the fifth rider to retire. He was involved in the crash that also saw Anass Ait El Abdia and Javier Moreno abandon on Sunday.


Benevolence, not bluster: How ‘Brand Salah’ bucks the trend

Updated 16 min 27 sec ago
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Benevolence, not bluster: How ‘Brand Salah’ bucks the trend

  • Mohamed Salah lines up for Liverpool in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday
  • Mohamed Salah has been unveiled as DHL’s new brand ambassador for the MENA region

LONDON: On Saturday Mohamed Salah will line up for Liverpool in the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
He will do so not only with the every member of the Red army behind him, but also the entire Arab world.
That is testament to his stratospheric rise — over the past nine months the Egyptian ace has gone from being a very good player, but one deemed as needing to justify his $52 million transfer fee, to a global superstar and cultural phenomenon.
As with any sporting star, with the adulation and attention comes potential pitfalls and, invariably, a new lexicon. So it was not surprising to hear the 25-year-old speak of “his brand” when he was unveiled as DHL’s new brand ambassador for the MENA region on Wednesday. Stars becoming brands is almost cliche now and one that Salah has clearly taken on board — he now has even his own logo.
“We are proud of him. Over the past two years, no has done what he has done. He has proved himself as one of the best and we wanted to deal with no one else, just him,” CEO of DHL in the Middle East and North Africa, Nour Suliman, said. “He is competing on another level and is the star of the Arab world. No one in the Arab world has done what he is doing. We are very proud to have him.”
Those types of corporate events, where a big multinational signs a deal with the latest big, young thing, lend themselves to the odd dollop of hyperbole. But there is little doubting the impact Salah has had on the pitch for Liverpool and Egypt, and off it in becoming a true Arab icon. And his utterance of the word “brand” is where Salah as a walking cliche begins and ends.
Every year in Egypt ahead of Ramadan the best dates are named after the most popular person in the country — the man or woman revered by the nation at that moment. In the past, the staple food of the holy month has tended to be named after political leaders.
This year there was no competition: The most succulent date has been named after Salah. At the DHL press conference he was presented with a packet of dates emblazoned with his face and name.
It said much about the man that he both looked and confessed to being “embarrassed.”
This week the British Museum in London displayed Salah’s green football boots as part of its Modern Egypt exhibition. And in a documentary about the player broadcast in the UK, he was credited with increasing attendances at England’s oldest mosque in Liverpool and improving the image of Islam by Dr. Abdul Hamid, a trustee at the mosque.
So while the signing of big deals hints he is very much the modern-day footballing superstar, everything else off the pitch suggests something else.
Salah is on social media, but does not, like many sports stars, live on it; he knows he is a hero for many, but pays more than mere lip service to his position as a role model; and he embraces attention (of both opposition defenders and fans) rather than seemingly getting annoyed by it if things are not going his way.
“I am not heavy into social media, I am on it and aware of it, but I don’t follow it that closely. It does not influence me,” he said.
“I am aware young people look up to me and I feel great that they do and that I can influence a young footballer to play better or train harder, or do better; that that makes me proud.”
This season Salah has done what few footballers have done before, transcend the game, and he has done so in a way characterized by benevolence rather than bluster.
Against Real Madrid he can again illustrate just what a talent he is — and if he does lead Liverpool to their sixth European Cup triumph, you get the feeling he will not let the adulation go to his head.