Cavendish thwarted as De Bondt wins Giro 18th stage

Cavendish thwarted as De Bondt wins Giro 18th stage
Team Alpecin-Fenix's Belgian Dries De Bondt celebrates after crossing the finish line of the 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia 2022 cycling race, 156 km from Borgo Valsugana to Treviso, on May 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 27 May 2022

Cavendish thwarted as De Bondt wins Giro 18th stage

Cavendish thwarted as De Bondt wins Giro 18th stage
  • The powerfully-built 30-year-old De Bondt outsprinted Jumbo’s Edoardo Affini for a photo finish as Magnus Cort of EF was third and Davide Bardiani of CSF fourth after they had worked together over two laps of a tight downtown circuit at Treviso

TREVISO, Italy: Belgian Dries De Bondt won stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday as a quartet of escapees defied a frantic bid from the sprinters to reel them in over the final kilometer.

The final flat stage on this 21-day race around Italy was supposed to be the last chance for sprinters such as Arnaud Demare and Mark Cavendish, but in a rare event the mass bunch sprint was denied by the escape group.

“It’s a we question, not an I question. It was a collaboration (working together) until the last kilometer,” De Bondt said.

“Everyone said Cavendish or Demare or (Alberto) Dainese was going to win — it was written in the stars.

“But there was no moment of doubt, nobody skipped one turn,” he said of the escape.

The powerfully-built 30-year-old De Bondt outsprinted Jumbo’s Edoardo Affini for a photo finish as Magnus Cort of EF was third and Davide Bardiani of CSF fourth after they had worked together over two laps of a tight downtown circuit at Treviso.

The sprint pack started that 20km slog with a deficit of only 2 minutes, and would have caught the quartet on a less technically demanding circuit.

Frenchman Demare of FDJ still leads in the sprint points rankings with a tally of 254 while the 37-year-old Cavendish is second on 132.

Ecuadorian former Giro winner Richard Carapaz of Ineos maintains his 03sec lead in the overall standings on Australian Jai Hindley.

“Today was a fast stage. We thought it was going to be relaxed and easy but it went quickly today,” said Carapaz, who had been hoping for a slower run ahead of the finale.

Hindley had a fright on Thursday when he took a puncture late in the race.

“The rules say if it’s in the last 3km its ok, you don’t lose time,” said a relieved Bora director Jens Zemka.

“We are highly motivated for the run in,” he said.

Bahrain Victorious leader Mikel Landa is third at 1min 05sec.

“If I see any opportunities I’ll attack,” said the Spaniard. “There’s no fear of losing my podium place now (Joao) Almeida is out.”

Almeida’s hopes of finishing on the podium ended overnight as he withdrew after testing positive for Covid-19 when he was just 49 sec off third-placed Mikel Landa.

Friday’s ride from Marano Lagunare to Santuario di Castelmonte features four climbs.

But Saturday’s high altitude affair will be the real showdown as it climbs over 2000m altitude three times.

Sunday’s final stage is a medium length 17.4km individual time-trial into Verona where Carapaz claimed overall victory three years ago.


Dutch debut for Vuelta a Espana as Roglic targets fourth title

Dutch debut for Vuelta a Espana as Roglic targets fourth title
Updated 30 sec ago

Dutch debut for Vuelta a Espana as Roglic targets fourth title

Dutch debut for Vuelta a Espana as Roglic targets fourth title
  • The flat Dutch terrain means stages two and three are likely to culminate in mass sprints, so Jumbo’s best chance on home soil is the opening day team race

UTRECHT: Cycling’s Vuelta a Espana embarks Friday with defending champion Primoz Roglic chasing an unprecedented fourth straight victory over a mountainous 3,280km route that begins, however, on the flatlands of the Netherlands.

After the Giro d’Italia started in Budapest and the Tour de France in Copenhagen, both to rousing support from roadside fans, the final grand tour of the season begins its 21-day odyssey with a 23km team time-trial around Utrecht.

It is home terrain for Slovenian Roglic’s Jumbo team. They are Dutch-based and include three Dutch riders in Sam Oomen, Robert Gesink and Mike Teunissen.

“We have a nice and balanced team at the start that can optimally support Primoz in all areas,” Jumbo director Merijn Zeeman said.

The flat Dutch terrain means stages two and three are likely to culminate in mass sprints, so Jumbo’s best chance on home soil is the opening day team race.

The 23 teams, which start with 184 riders, transfer to Spain on Monday, and start climbing at once with all six stages before the next rest day in medium or high mountains.

The race winds through the rugged terrain of the Basque Country and Asturias, where plenty of traveling Dutch fan are expected.

Stage five ends in Bilbao, near Frank Gehry’s landmark Guggenheim museum, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Stage eight and nine in Asturias offer climbers the chance to gain serious time.

After a second rest day, the race swoops south where the kind of sizzling temperatures that effected the Tour de France could play a roll.

An individual time-trial on stage 10 should provide a minor shake up while the cliff-perched city of Ronda hosts the start of stage 13.

A mountaintop finish, more than 2,500m high in the Andalusian Sierra Nevada may provide some drama on stage 15.

The race might only be settled on stage 20 with a series of climbs designed to produce a final showdown on the road toward Madrid.

Quick Step starlet Remco Evenepoel targets his first Grand Tour at 22 and was the bookies tip for triumph before Roglic was declared fit on Monday.

The rigours of a 21-day Tour will test Evenepoel, who has won several shorter tours, but he will be chaperoned by the world champion Julian Alaphilippe, as co-leader.

“He doesn’t start as a favorite, and we will just take it day by day,” said Quick Step sports director Klaas Lodewyck.

“It’s a whole new adventure for him,” Lodewyck said of the rider with 11 wins this season, including a resounding triumph at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Former Giro champion Richard Carapaz leads a youthful Ineos line up and, after a narrow miss at the Giro in May, the reigning Olympic champion cannot be ignored.

Ineos director Rod Ellingworth expects “an exciting edition of the Vuelta” with some “outstanding racing.” 

Powerful roller Dylan van Baarle and the climbers Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart provide ample back up in an otherwise youthful Ineos lineup.

Giro champion Australia’s Jai Hindley and British climber Simon Yates both appear to have the credentials to target at least a podium shot.

But several of cycling’s hottest riders are missing with Egan Bernal, Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar all sitting out this Vuelta.


Elon Musk says he is buying Manchester United

Elon Musk says he is buying Manchester United
Updated 17 August 2022

Elon Musk says he is buying Manchester United

Elon Musk says he is buying Manchester United

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Tuesday he was buying football club Manchester United Plc.
“I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome,” Musk said in a tweet.
Musk has a history of making irreverent tweets, and it was not immediately clear whether he planned to pursue a deal.
Manchester United, controlled by the American Glazer family, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The football club had a market capitalization of $2.08 billion, as of Tuesday’s close.
Manchester United fans have in recent years protested against the Glazers, who bought the club for 790 million pounds ($955.51 million) in 2005, due to the team’s struggles on the pitch.
The anti-Glazer movement gained momentum last year after United were involved in a failed attempt to form a breakaway European Super League.


Jacobs storms to Euro 100m crown as Ingebrigtsen and Perkovic shine

Jacobs storms to Euro 100m crown as Ingebrigtsen and Perkovic shine
Updated 17 August 2022

Jacobs storms to Euro 100m crown as Ingebrigtsen and Perkovic shine

Jacobs storms to Euro 100m crown as Ingebrigtsen and Perkovic shine
  • In a heady night of track and field at a packed Olympic Stadium, the raucous crowd went wild as unheralded home favorite Gina Lueckenkemper pulled off a shock by winning the women’s blue riband sprint
  • There was also drama in the decathlon as Germany’s Niklas Kaul snatched gold from Swiss rival Simon Ehammer on the back of a monstrous 76.05m in the javelin and a personal best of 4:10.04 in the strength-sapping final 1500m

MUNICH: Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs put an injury-ravaged season behind him to storm to gold in the 100m gold in the European Athletics Championships in Munich on Tuesday.

Jacobs, who was world indoor 60m champion in Belgrade in March, but withdrew before the semifinals of the 100m at last month’s world championships in Oregon, clocked a championship record-equalling time of 9.95 seconds.

Defending champion Zharnel Hughes claimed silver in 9.99sec with another Briton, Jeremiah Azu, taking bronze in 10.13.

“This was a difficult season with problems, with injury,” said the 27-year-old Italian, who has been beset by leg injuries and who competed with a heavily-strapped left calf in Munich.

“My leg is not good and I am not happy about how the race went technically, there were some problems.

“But I am over the moon with the gold medal. After Olympic gold, I’ve now got the European gold. I’ve got to get the world championship gold now.”

In a heady night of track and field at a packed Olympic Stadium, the raucous crowd went wild as unheralded home favorite Gina Lueckenkemper pulled off a shock by winning the women’s blue riband sprint.

The 25-year-old, who won 100m silver in the last European champs in Berlin in 2018 and 200m bronze in 2016, threw herself at the line to clock 10.99sec for a photo-finish victory over Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji.

Britain’s Daryll Neita took bronze with 11.00sec, while her teammate, defending champion Dina Asher-Smith, pulled up with injury halfway through the race and finished last.

A trio of proven performers had earlier showed off their prowess in perfect, balmy conditions, retaining their titles in no little style. 

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen celebrates winning the men’s 5000m final during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in Munich. (AFP)

First up was Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who dominated the 5,000m to keep a repeat double bid on track.

The 21-year-old, crowned world champion over the distance at last month’s worlds in Eugene, timed 13min 21.13sec.

“I believe in myself and I believe in the things I have done before. It was amazing here today, it was a great race to be a part of,” said Ingebrigtsen.

“It feels great to be back and win, it is special.”

Greece’s defending long jump champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, the reigning Olympic and world indoor champion who won world silver in Eugene, then set a championship record to retain his Euro title.

The Greek soared out to 8.52m on his fourth attempt, bettering the previous best of 8.47m set by Germany’s Christian Reif in Barcelona in 2010. 

Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic during the women’s discus throw final at the European Athletics Championships. (AFP)

Then came the turn of the doyenne of the women’s discus, Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic.

The 32-year-old Croat left it late, going out to a winning 67.95 meters on her fifth attempt for gold.

It was a record sixth successive European title, the two-time Olympic and world champion having first won the continental competition in Barcelona in 2010.

“I just won my sixth European title here at this beautiful stadium in front of this amazing crowds, so I am so happy and proud tonight,” said Perkovic.

“I knew I was ready to do it and I think the fight was nice.”

There was also drama in the decathlon as Germany’s Niklas Kaul snatched gold from Swiss rival Simon Ehammer on the back of a monstrous 76.05m in the javelin and a personal best of 4:10.04 in the strength-sapping final 1500m.

After also registering 11.16sec in the 100m, 7.10m in the long jump, 14.90m in the shot put, 2.02m in the high jump, 47.87sec in the 400m, 14.45sec in the 110m hurdles and 41.80m in the discus, Kaul was left with 8,545 points.

Ehammer had to be happy with silver, just 77pts behind, while Estonia’s Janek Oiglane claimed bronze (8,346).


Kyrgios overcomes tricky Davidovich Fokina in Cincinnati opener

Kyrgios overcomes tricky Davidovich Fokina in Cincinnati opener
Updated 17 August 2022

Kyrgios overcomes tricky Davidovich Fokina in Cincinnati opener

Kyrgios overcomes tricky Davidovich Fokina in Cincinnati opener
  • The Australian marched through with 29 winners — including 10 aces — and three breaks of the Spaniard’s serve to reach the second round

CINCINNATI: Nick Kyrgios began the last major US Open tune-up with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Tuesday at the ATP/WTA Cincinnati Masters.
The Australian marched through with 29 winners — including 10 aces — and three breaks of the Spaniard’s serve to reach the second round.
The 28th-ranked Kyrgios has won all 11 of his first-round matches this season and won his 22nd match since returning to the ATP in June after skipping the clay season.
He now faces good friend Taylor Fritz after the American crushed Sebastian Baez 6-1, 6-1.
“Physically, I didn’t feel the best, but you have to keep pushing, keep trying,” Kyrgios said.
“Alejandro’s a hell of a player, he’s got a lot of shots at his disposal. I had to serve well and dictate,” the Montreal quarter-finalist aded.
“It was tricky conditions out there, the courts are a lot more lively than Montreal, it was harder to control the ball.”
Kyrgios took 50 minutes to secure the first set, wrapping it up after a break in the penultimate game with back-to-back serve winners.
He went up an early break to start the second set but lost it three games later as the dissatisfied Australian kept up a frustrated gripe session with his three-strong support box as Davidovich Fokina made it 2-2.
Kyrgios struck straight back with a love break to regain control 3-2 and ran out the winner in 91 minutes on his second match point.
It marked a happy return to Cincinnati for Kyrgios, who was fined a record $113,000 during a spectacular meltdown at the tournament in 2019 when he smashed two racquets in the locker room in a loss to Karen Khachanov.
Kyrgios acknowledged his turbulent history at the tournament after Tuesday’s win.
“I’ve played some amazing tennis here and had some crazy outbursts,” he said.
“It’s a flip of the coin as to which Kyrgios shows up here.
“Hopefully this time around it’s just a calm, collected — I just want to have a good week before I continue on the good habits and give myself all the best for preparation for the US Open.
“I have been an emotional kind of tennis player my entire career. Ever since I picked up a racquet, my mum used to watch me throw tantrums and cry on the court and be emotional when I lost.
“That’s just me showing that I do care about the result — I think that’s important.


Juventus newcomer Di Maria sidelined by thigh injury

Juventus newcomer Di Maria sidelined by thigh injury
Updated 16 August 2022

Juventus newcomer Di Maria sidelined by thigh injury

Juventus newcomer Di Maria sidelined by thigh injury
  • Di Maria scored the opening goal in Monday's 3-0 win over Sassuolo in his first game for his new club
  • Juventus said scans showed Di Maria had suffered a "low-grade lesion" to his left thigh

ROME: Argentina winger Angel Di Maria faces a spell on the sidelines after picking up a thigh injury on his Juventus debut, the Serie A club said on Tuesday.
Di Maria scored the opening goal in Monday’s 3-0 win over Sassuolo in his first game for his new club after his move from Paris Saint-Germain.
The 34-year-old also set up Dusan Vlahovic for the second of his two goals but was substituted midway through the second half.
Juventus said scans showed Di Maria had suffered a “low-grade lesion” to his left thigh, adding that the injury would be re-evaluated in 10 days.
He will miss at least the next two league games against Sampdoria and Roma.
Juventus were already without Paul Pogba, who hurt his knee on a pre-season trip to the US after rejoining the Turin club following six years with Manchester United.
The France midfielder is undergoing a course of “conservative therapy” and could return in mid-September.