Dimension Data boss doubts Mark Cavendish will be able to start Tour de France stage five

Doug Ryder says they can only hope Cavendish will be able to continue at the Tour de France after his crash on stage four

Dimension Data says that Mark Cavendish‘s shoulder “does not look good” after crashing with Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and does not think that he can start in the fifth stage of the Tour de France.

The jury disqualified Peter Sagan after he drifted into Manx cyclist in the final 150 metres of the stage to Vittel. Cavendish with his right arm in a sling had to go to the hospital.

>>> Mark Cavendish: ‘I’d like to speak with Peter… a crash is a crash, but I’d like to know about the elbow’

“His shoulder does not look good so we’ll have to wait and see, we can only hope,” team principal Doug Ryder said when asked if he thought Cavendish could continue.

Mark Cavendish rides injured to the finish of stage four of the Tour de France (Sunada)

“He’s a tough guy but that was a hard crash. We can only hope but I’m not sure.”

Cavendish left the bus and was forced to take his anti-doping test first before his x-rays.

“It doesn’t look good, we have to wait for the x-rays, but let’s hope that it’s nothing that severe, but it didn’t look that great from my perspective. But I’m not a doctor.”

The jury decided later after Ryder spoke that Sagan should go home. Sagan won stage three on Monday and won the green points jersey in the last five editions of the Tour de France.

The incident happened with Cavendish, the Tour de France’s most successful sprinter. Cavendish counts 30 stage wins and is nearly the record held by Eddy Merckx at 34. He fought to recover from glandular fever just to be on the start line for the 2017 edition.

Mark Cavendish is elbowed by Peter Sagan on stage four of the Tour de France (Sunada)

“It was ridiculous, that wasn’t racing as it should be,” Ryder said.

“At that speed, there are instincts that happen. I don’t think anybody does anything deliberately. It happened, and I don’t think it’s right.

“To be disqualified … that affects him and his race, but it doesn’t help us in terms of Mark and his career. He’s a legend in the sport and that’s really disappointing.

“You can see all the guys moving over and Peter’s elbow moved off the bar after. Sprinter are sprinters but the deviation is pretty drastic around there.”


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Olympians Announce Formation of Global Association of Professional Swimmers

Photo Courtesy: Global Association of Professional Swimmers

Earlier this summer FINA announced changes to the annual World Cup circuit that would limit the number of events an athlete can swim in per stop, while also giving Olympic and World Championship medallists direct access to finals of their events. Many of these changes, especially the limitation on events, were met with frustration on the part of athletes.

Many top athletes within the sport of swimming have taken to social media in the aftermath of FINA’s announcement to express their frustration, and in some cases, outrage over the changes.

The aftermath of FINA’s announcement has led to the recent creation of the Global Association of Professional Swimmers, which was announced today via social media.

The association’s website states the following:

  • We believe…that athletes are essential to a successful sport.
  • We believe…that athletes should have a say in how their sport is formed and how the rules are changed. 
  • We want…our voice to be heard and to stand up for ourselves.
  • We want…to create a community of swimmers where we can discuss our sport’s future and unify our voice so it can become louder. 

Members of the new association include Olympic gold medalists, World Championship medalists, and former and current athletes representing each of the competing continents. The membership list is as follows:

  • Jessica Ashwood (Australia)
  • Bronte Campbell (Australia)
  • Cate Campbell (Australia)
  • Madison Wilson (Australia)
  • Pieter Timmers (Belgium)
  • Bruno Fratus (Brazil)
  • Hilary Caldwell (Canada)
  • Pernille Blume (Denmark)
  • Jeanette Ottesen (Denmark)
  • Rikke Pedersen (Denmark)
  • Camile Lacourt (France)
  • Anna Santamans (France)
  • Marco Koch (Germany)
  • James Guy (Great Britain)
  • Adam Peaty (Great Britain)
  • Katinka Hosszu (Hungary)
  • Luca Dotto (Italy)
  • Kosuke Hagino (Japan)
  • Femke Heemskerk (The Netherlands)
  • Ranomi Kromowidjojo (The Netherlands)
  • Kira Toussaint (The Netherlands)
  • Sharon van Rouwendaal (The Netherlands)
  • Ferry Weertman (The Netherlands)
  • Michelle Coleman (Sweden)
  • Jennie Johansson (Sweden)
  • Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden)
  • Cameron van der Burgh (South Africa)
  • Conor Dwyer (USA)
  • Katie Meili (USA)
  • Lia Neal (USA)

To learn more about the Global Association of Professional Swimmers, visit their website here

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Peter Sagan disqualified from Tour de France

St 1 Sat July 1, Düsseldorf (DE), 14km ITT
Preview
St 2 Sun July 2, Düsseldorf (DE) – Liège (BE), 203.5km
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St 3 Mon July 3, Verviers (BE) – Longwy, 212.5km
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St 4 Tue July 4, Mondorf-les-Bains (LU) – Vittel, 207.5km
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St 5 Wed July 5, Vittel – La Planche des Belles Filles, 160.5km
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St 6 Thu July 6, Vesoul – Troyes, 216km
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St 7 Fri July 7, Troyes – Nuits-Saint-Georges, 213.5km
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St 8 Sat July 8, Dole – Station des Rousses, 187.5km
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St 9 Sun July 9, Nantua – Chambéry, 181.5km
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REST DAY
St 10 Tues July 11, Périgueux – Bergerac, 178km
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St 11 Wed July 12: Eymet – Pau, 203.5km
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St 12 Thurs July 13 Pau – Peyragudes, 214.5km
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St 13 Fri July 14: Saint-Girons – Foix, 101km
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St 14 Sat July 15: Blagnac – Rodez, 181.5km
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St 15 Sun July 16, Laissac-Sévérac L’Eglise – Le Puy-en-Velay, 189.5km
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REST DAY
St 16 Tue July 18, Brioude – Romans-sur-Isère, 165km
Preview
St 17 Wed July 19: La Mure – Serre Chevalier, 183km
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St 18 Thu July 20: Briançon – Col d’Izoard, 179.5km
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St 19 Fri July 21, Embrun – Salon-de-Provence, 222.5km
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St 20 Sat July 22: Marseille, 22.5km ITT
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St 21 Sun July 23: Montgeron – Paris, 103km
Preview

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Federer & Djokovic into round two after opponents retire

Martin Klizan and Novak Djokovic

Former champions Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic both reached the second round at Wimbledon without completing matches after their opponents retired.

Third seed Federer led 6-3 3-0 when Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov quit with an ankle injury after 43 minutes.

The Centre Court crowd had already seen second seed Djokovic progress after a calf injury saw Martin Klizan pull out at 6-2 2-0 down on 40 minutes.

“You never like to end up a match this way,” said Djokovic.

“I heard that Klizan had issues even before walking on the court. You could see he wasn’t moving. Once the ball was a couple of feet away from him, he let it go.”

The Serb, 30, goes on to face Czech Adam Pavlasek in the second round on Thursday as he pursues a third Wimbledon title.

Seven-time champion Federer took his first step towards a record eighth victory at the All England Club.

Canadian sixth seed Milos Raonic, last year’s runner-up, saw off Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-5 (7-5) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in his opening match.

Juan Martin del Potro overcame a battling Thanasi Kokkinakis to seal a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory and reach the second round.

The Argentine 29th seed eased to the first set before turning his ankle in the second as the 21-year-old Australian took advantage to level.

A poor tie-break from Kokkinakis handed Del Potro an otherwise even third set.

Kokkinakis then saved six match points in the final game of the fourth set but Del Potro, 28, finally came through.

The former US Open champion will face Ernests Gulbis in round two after the Latvian, ranked 589 in the world, beat the Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos 6-1 6-1 6-2.

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Gold Coast Aquatic Centre Announced as Host for 2018 Australian Swim Trials

Photo Courtesy: SwimmingWorld.TV

Gold Coast locals and swimming fans will be treated to a star-studded preview of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) as Swimming Australia announce the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre (GCAC) as the host venue for the 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials.

Just five weeks before the Games kick off the swimmers will put on a curtain raiser like no other at the newly refurbished GCAC.

From February 28 to March 3, the Gold Coast will play host to the best swimmers from across the country as they race for the chance to represent Australia on home soil at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Olympic gold medallists Mack Horton and Kyle Chalmers will be on show with Chalmers taking on hometown hero Cameron McEvoy in the edge-of-your-seat sprint events, and Horton racing the clock in one of Australia’s favourite events, the men’s 1500m freestyle.

World record holders in the 4x100m freestyle relay; Cate and Bronte CampbellEmma McKeon and Brittany Elmslie will be fighting for an individual spot in the women’s 100m free while in the backstroke events both Emily Seebohm and Mitch Larkin will be looking to reign supreme.

The Commonwealth Games is also one of the only international events that allows our Para and able bodied athletes to compete together, and the 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials will be no different.

Paralympic stars Daniel FoxEllie ColeBrendan HallMadi Scott, Timothy Disken and Matt Levy, will all be on show

Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said the GCAC was the ideal location for the Swimming trials.

“The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is a state of the art location and will no doubt be a fantastic backdrop for the athletes as they race at the biggest domestic event on the swimming calendar,” Anderson said.

“I would like to extend my thanks to GOLDOC, Tourism and Events Queensland and Commonwealth Games Australia for their support in bringing this event to the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, and the ongoing support of our principal partners Optus and Hancock Prospecting, this is a great result for swimming.”

The last night of competition will feature the announcement of the Commonwealth Games Swim Team and Anderson said the Trials were a great opportunity for those that missed out on Commonwealth Games tickets to still be a part of the action.

“We are fortunate in that Swimming tickets at the Commonwealth Games were in high demand and so to have the Swimming trials at the same venue as the Commonwealth Games, and just five weeks prior, will be a great opportunity for anyone that missed out on tickets to be a part of the experience.

“The 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials will provide our swimmers with an ideal opportunity to perform in the venue just five weeks prior to the Commonwealth Games in front of a home audience.

“It will provide spectators with a wonderful opportunity to see the Aussies race live before they take on some of the strongest swimming nations in the world and, we are pleased that our broadcast partner Channel 7 will be broadcasting this event live to sports and swimming fans right around Australia,” Anderson said.

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation Chairman, Peter Beattie AC said the event would provide key learnings for the organisation ahead of GC2018.

“These trials will provide a great lead-in to GC2018 for both Swimming Australia and GOLDOC and will set the scene for what will be the biggest sporting event in Australia this decade,” he said.

“The event will act as a key operational trial ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, with major involvement from GOLDOC staff in the planning and operational delivery of the event.”

The 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland major events calendar.

The Acting Minister for Education, Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games, Grace Grace said securing this event is wonderful news for Queensland and promotes the Gold Coast as a world-class sporting events destination ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“We look forward to welcoming swimming athletes from around the country, their supporters and fans to the state-of-the-art Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, and invite all to stay on and holiday on the Gold Coast,” Grace said.

Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips said he welcomed the opportunity for Australia’s leading swimmers to take to the water on the Gold Coast in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.

“Commonwealth Games Australia has worked closely with Swimming Australia on a program that best suits athlete preparation for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Phillips said.

We hope that these trials, contested close to the Games and at the Games pool, will ensure our swimmers are prepared for success at the Commonwealth Games.”

The event is set to transform the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre with the hugely popular Centre Lane; food and entertainment precinct, returning for 2018 adding an exciting element to an already entertaining sporting event.

Centre Lane will be the one-stop-shop for food, drinks, entertainment, and sponsor merchandise including activations from Optus, arena, the classic COON cheese toastie truck plus many more.

Paralympic silver medallist and local Gold Coast resident Monique Murphy said she is excited to be able to race in front of a home crowd.

“A lot of my family live in Brisbane so I’m excited to have the chance to race in front of them,” Murphy said.

“I am lucky enough to call the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre my home pool! It is a fantastic facility and training and racing in the Queensland sun never fails to motivate me.

“Although I’ve only been on the Gold Coast a short time, the sense of community and support is powerful and I am looking forward to showing everyone what I’m capable of,” Murphy said.

Fellow Gold Coaster and dual Olympian James Roberts echoed Murphy’s sentiments.

“I am so excited to race trials and potentially compete at a home Commonwealth Games here on the Gold Coast,” Roberts said.

“It will be different to race in an open-air pool, but I think it will have a relaxed, Gold Coast feel and provide a great atmosphere behind the blocks.

“It will be amazing to see a full stadium cheering us on and will no doubt give everyone that little boost that can make a huge difference on the day.”

There will also be a strong community connection in the event with volunteer roles and opportunities open to locals young and old, including basket handling, volunteering, club relays, Optus Junior Dolphin carnivals and Junior Excellence clinics.

Those lucky enough to be involved in club relays will even get the chance to race in the same pool as the stars of the Commonwealth Games, just weeks before the event.

Press release courtesy of Swimming Australia. 

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McIlroy to play with Matsuyama and Rahm at Portstewart

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Tournament host Rory McIlroy will play with world number two Hideki Matsuyama and Spaniard Jon Rahm in the first two rounds of this week’s Irish Open.

Japan’s Matsuyama leapfrogged McIlroy in the rankings after finishing in a share of second place at the US Open while Rahm is the world number 11.

The trio, who will start at 13:20 BST on Thursday, are the highest-ranked players in the Portstewart field.

McIlroy is ranked fourth after Jordan Spieth’s recent move up to third spot.

Matsuyama, the highest-placed Japanese golfer in the history of the world rankings, is making his debut in the £5.4m event in his first ever journey to Ireland.

The Japanese player has won four times on the PGA Tour including his successful defence of the Phoenix Open title this year.

Tiger Woods and Hideki Matsuyama

Matsuyama’s remarkable conclusion to 2016

Matsuyama’s Japan Open triumph last autumn started a remarkable run of four wins in five starts which included the World Golf Championship HSBC Champions event in Shanghai and the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

“When you look at what he has achieved, not just last year and already this year, but over the past few years it is impressive how he goes about his business,” said McIlroy.

“He is a very hard worker and anytime you are on the practice range he always seems to always be there and it is the same scenario when you are on the practice putting green.

“I heard he was interested in playing some links golf ahead of the Open, so we got in touch with his management team saying that would love to have him compete at Portstewart and we would do anything to help in getting him to the tournament.”

Last year’s Masters champion Danny Willett will be in the next three ball off the first tee on Thursday at 13:30 with fellow Englishmen Matthew Fitzpatrick and Ian Poulter.

World number 22 Tyrrell Hatton will start 10 minutes before McIlroy alongside Lee Westwood and emerging Irish star Paul Dunne.

The 2011 Open champion, Darren Clarke, is also among the afternoon starters after being paired with 2015 Irish Open winner Soren Kjeldsen and England’s Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston.

Graeme McDowell has a morning tee time as he tees off from the 10th at 08:20 with Olympic champion Justin Rose and Sunday’s French Open winner Tommy Fleetwood.

Padraig Harrington will start 10 minutes later alongside another veteran, Miguel Angel Jimenez, and European Ryder Cup player Andy Sullivan.

Jamie Donaldson, the winner at Royal Portrush in 2012, will play alongside another previous Irish Open champion Mikko Ilonen while Offaly man Shane Lowry will have European Ryder Cup players Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Thomas Pieters for company over the opening two rounds.

The 1990 Irish Open champion, Jose-Maria Olazabal, will be partnered by recent BMW International Open winner Andres Romero and American Peter Uihlein.

Last year’s BMW PGA Championship Chris Wood has pulled out of this week’s event because of a wrist injury but hopes to play in next week’s Scottish Open.

THURSDAY’S DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN TEE TIMES

Starting on the first hole

(all times BST)

07:30 – Raphael Jacquelin (Fra), David Howell (Eng), Stephen Gallacher (Sco)

07:40 – Matthew Southgate (Eng), Nathan Kimsey (Eng), Robert Rock (Eng)

07:50 – Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Brandon Stone (SA)

08:00 – Daniel Brooks (Eng), Alexander Knappe (Ger), Simon Khan (Eng)

08:10 – Haydn Porteous (SA), Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Richie Ramsay (Sco)

08:20 – Nino Bertasio (Ita), Julien Quesne (Fra), Marc Warren (Sco)

08:30 – Paul Peterson (USA), David Horsey (Eng), Scott Hend (Aus)

08:40 – Paul Waring (Eng), Duncan Stewart (Sco), Bernd Ritthammer (Ger)

08:50 – Felipe Aguilar (Chi), Scott Jamieson (Sco), Justin Walters (SA)

09:00 – Oliver Fisher (Eng), Chris Hanson (Eng), Lasse Jensen (Den)

09:10 – Niclas Fasth (Swe), David Drysdale (Sco), Magnus A Carlsson (Swe)

09:20 – Richard Sterne (SA), Jordan Smith (Eng), Jorge Campillo (Spa)

09:30 – Neil O’Briain (Ire), Ashley Chesters (Eng), Thomas Aiken (SA)

12:30 – Jens Fahrbring (Swe), Romain Wattel (Fra), Daniel Im (USA)

12:40 – Joel Stalter (Fra), Maximilian Kieffer (Ger), Lucas Bjerregaard (Den)

12:50 – Michael Hoey (NI), Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel), Robert Karlsson (Swe)

13:00 – Alexander Levy (Fra), Paul McGinley (Ire), Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)

13:10 – Tyrrell Hatton (Eng), Lee Westwood (Eng), Paul Dunne (Ire)

13:20 – Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn), Rory McIlroy (NI), Jon Rahm (Spa)

13:30 – Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng), Ian Poulter (Eng), Danny Willett (Eng)

13:40 – Soren Kjeldsen (Den), Darren Clarke (NI), Andrew Johnston (Eng)

13:50 – Hideto Tanihara (Jpn), Haotong Li (Chn)

14:00 – Gregory Havret (Fra), Damien Perrier (Fra), Paul Lawrie (Sco)

14:10 – Ryan Fox (NZ), Pep Angles (Spa), Gary Hurley (Ire)

14:20 – Johan Carlsson (Swe), Damien McGrane (Ire), Adrian Otaegui (Spa)

14:30 – Gavin Moynihan (Ire), Benjamin Hebert (Fra), Marcus Armitage (Eng)

Starting at hole 10

07:30 – Chris Paisley (Sco), Alexander Bjork (Swe), Richard Kilpatrick (NI)

07:40 – Sam Brazel (Aus), Anthony Wall (Eng), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa)

07:50 – Jamie Donaldson (Wal), David Lipsky (USA), Mikko Ilonen (Fin)

08:00 – Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa), Andres Romero (Arg), Peter Uihlein (USA)

08:10 – Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa), Shane Lowry (Ire), Thomas Pieters (Bel)

08:20 – Graeme McDowell (NI), Justin Rose (Eng), Tommy Fleetwood (Eng)

08:30 – Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spa), Padraig Harrington (Ire), Andy Sullivan (Eng)

08:40 – Thomas Bjorn (Den), Thorbjorn Olesen (Den), Renato Paratore (Ita)

08:50 – Dylan Frittelli (SA), Alvaro Quiros (Spa), Jeunghun Wang (Kor)

09:00 – Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha), Shih-Chang Chan (Tpe), Joakim Lagergren (Swe)

09:10 – Marcus Fraser (Aus), Brett Rumford (Aus), Dean Burmester (SA)

09:20 – Marcel Siem (Ger), Peter Hanson (Swe), Jose-Filipe Lima (Por)

09:30 – Simon Thornton (Ire), Florian Fritsch (Ger), Sam Walker (Eng)

12:30 – Kristoffer Broberg (Swe), Darren Fichardt (SA), Richard Finch (Eng)

12:40 – Stuart Manley (Wal), Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Colm Moriarty (Ire)

12:50 – Sebastian Heisele (Ger), Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Thomas Detry (Bel)

13:00 – Fabrizio Zanotti (Par), Matt Wallace (Eng), Victor Dubuisson (Fra)

13:10 – S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind), Soomin Lee (Kor), Richard Bland (Eng)

13:20 – Ashun Wu (Chn), Andrew Dodt (Aus), Ricardo Gouveia (Por)

13:30 – Joost Luiten (Ned), Bradley Dredge, Gregory Bourdy (Fra)

13:40 – Jason Scrivener (Aus), Jaco Van Zyl (SA), Callum Shinkwin (Eng)

13:50 – Hennie Otto (SA), James Morrison (Eng), Simon Dyson (Eng)

14:00 – Rikard Karlberg (Swe), Graeme Storm (Eng), Gary Stal (Fra)

14:10 – David Higgins (Ire), Eduardo De La Riva (Spa), Romain Langasque (Fra)

14:20 – Wade Ormsby (Aus), Lee Slattery (Eng), George Coetzee (SA)

14:30 – Dermot McElroy (NI), Sebastien Gros (Fra), Nacho Elvira (Spa)

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Arnaud Démare wins Tour de France stage four in finale blighted by crashes

Two big crashes marred and otherwise quiet day at the Tour de France on stage four

Arnaud Démare (FDJ) took his first Tour de France victory on stage four of the 2017 race, in a finish which was blighted by crashes.

The French champion beat Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) into second and third respectively.

A relatively quiet day saw the final 10km ramp up in speed as the sprint teams began to setup their main men for victory.

But with all the fighting for position and some tricky corners in the closing 2km, there were two big incidents that saw riders hit the deck on the approach to the line.

The first came just before the flamme rouge and saw much of the middle of the peloton come down on the left hand side of the road, with race leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) getting caught up in the incident.

Green jersey Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step), who was hoping to take his second stage win of this Tour, was also caught up in the mayhem and was dropped as the sprinters at the front of the group continued on at a ferocious pace towards the line.

Those who avoided the first crash included Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) as well as Sagan, Kristoff and Démare among others.

But as everyone began to launch their sprint and move towards the right hand side of the road, Cavendish attempted to move around Sagan from the back of the group close to the barriers with 400m to go.

It appeared that the world champion caught Cavendish with his elbow as he edged to the right, sending the Manxman flying into the barriers and crashing to the ground.

That incident took down Degenkolb and Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) who both appeared to get back up shortly after. However, Cavendish remained on the ground and it looked likely he wouldn’t be able to continue.

Ahead, Démare was able to weave his way through and power ahead as Kristoff began to fade. Sagan, who was involved in that incident shortly before, was still able to close up on the sprinters ahead but wasn’t able to stop Démare, who took his first ever stage at the Tour ahead of Sagan.

Geraint Thomas, in spite of the crash, was able to safely finish and retain the overall lead while his team-mate Chris Froome also remained safe along with the other GC contenders.

A mega solo break

The day began quietly with another route of 200km on the cards ahead of the first summit finish on Wednesday’s stage five.

From the drop of the flag, only one man, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was willing to get away into the breakaway, and was perhaps surprised by the lack of other riders wanting to join him.

With no movement behind, the Belgian then pushed on alone with still more than 200km to go on the flat, 207.5km route.

The peloton were happy let him get a huge chunk of time with complete confidence they’d bring him back.

Van Keirsbulck gained almost 13 minutes on the bunch, before things began to turn on him. The gap quickly tumbled with 60km to go, and the lone leader looked doomed.

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) goes it alone on stage four of the 2017 Tour de France (ASO)

He was eventually dragged back in with 16.8km to go, as the sprint teams really began to engage themselves towards the finish.

It was then that the carnage ensued within the final couple of kilometres after a lot of jostling between teams on the run-in to town.

But despite the controversy between Sagan and Cavendish, Démare emerged a deserving winner with enough power and sped that he didn’t look like anyone would have beaten him to his maiden Tour win.

The Tour de France continues on Wednesday with stage five; a 160.5km to the first summit finish at Le Plance des Belles Filles.

Results

Tour de France 2017, stage four: Mondotf-les-Bains – Vittel (207.5km)

1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, in 4-53-54
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
4 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
5 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
6 Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
7 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at 7s
8 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 7s
9 Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 10s
10 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 10s

Geraint Thomas on stage four of the Tour de France (ASO)

General classification after stage four

1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, in 14-54-25
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 7s
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 12s
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 12s
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, at 16s
6 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondialeat 25s
7 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 30s
8 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 32s
9 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at 32s
10 Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ, at 33s


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What Madisyn Cox Overcame Days Before the Race of Her Life

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Editorial content for the 2017 USA Swimming Nationals is sponsored by TritonWear. Visit TritonWear.com for more information on our sponsor. For full Swimming World coverage, check event coverage page.

By David Rieder.

Madisyn Cox was staring at her best shot to make the U.S. World Championships team. She had never swum at an Olympics or a long course World Champs meet before, but now she was the No. 2 qualifier for the women’s 200 IM final at U.S. Nationals.

But Ella Eastin was gunning for the 200 IM, too, and there figured to be just one spot available on the Worlds team behind pre-race favorite Melanie Margalis. Like Cox, Eastin had never broken through and qualified for a senior U.S. national team—even though for a few glorious moments two days earlier, Eastin thought she had.

ella-eastin-dq-lochte-rule

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

In the 400 IM final at Nationals, Eastin clobbered her lifetime best on her way to finishing second. She thought she was going to Budapest. But moments later, the letters “DQ” appeared on the scoreboard next to her name. Eastin has been disqualified for illegally coming off her final turn on her back.

Eastin’s difficult week had been well-documented and highly public. Cox, meanwhile, had struggled in both the 200 breast and 400 IM, but little did most people know all that the 22-year-old had been through over the previous eight days.

It all started the night of June 23, less than 48 hours before Cox was scheduled to fly to Indianapolis. Still at home in Austin, Texas, she got sick, really sick. She didn’t go to practice the next morning. Forget about her preparation for the meet—missing that one practice was difficult enough.

“That Saturday morning practice was supposed to be our last practice ever with Tasija Karosas,” Cox said. Karosas, Cox’s senior co-captain on the Texas women’s team, was preparing to leave for the Maccabiah Games in Israel, slated to be the last meet of her career.

“That Saturday morning was supposed to be our last practice together, and I didn’t make it to practice.”

There was nothing Cox could do. She kept throwing up. She couldn’t eat. She could hardly drink water. Her sister came over to pack all of Cox’s gear for the meet, since Cox was still scheduled to leave the next day.

But even with so much on the line at Nationals—a spot on the World Championship team, not to mention a shot at securing National Team stipend in her first year as a pro swimmer— Cox seriously considered whether it would be better to not even go. She called Carol Capitani, her coach at Texas.

“’I don’t even know if I can go to this meet,’” Cox told Carol Capitani, the head women’s coach at Texas. “That’s how bad it was.”

But she traveled to Indy, suffering through what she calls “the worst flying experience I’ve ever had,” and as soon as the plane landed, Capitani took Cox to the hospital, where doctors ran tests and gave her IV fluids to rehydrate her body. The next day, less than 48 hours before she was scheduled for her first race, the 200 breast, Cox was back in the pool.

“I didn’t do much because I was so tired,” she recalled. “I was overheating in the water. Felt terrible.”

It would still be several days before Cox, typically superstitious about eating the exact same meal each day at a swim meet, could even eat full meals. She didn’t eat any vegetables until Friday night, a full week after she started to get sick.

All the while, the swim meet was going on. Cox first swam on the second day in the 200 breast, and she finished 11th in prelims in 2:28.08, more than two seconds slower than a time she had posted three weeks earlier at the Arena Pro Swim Series meet in Santa Clara, Calif.

A day later, Cox was to swim the 400 IM, an event in which she had posted the fastest in-season time of anyone entered, but given her physical state, Capitani wanted Cox to scratch and focus on recovering. She had the 200 IM, scheduled for two days later, in mind.

Cox considered that plan but realized she couldn’t go through with it.

“I remember just thinking, ‘If I can finish a 400 IM right now, just that will give me confidence,’” Cox said. “That was my mentality going into it. I knew I didn’t have the strength and the nutrition I needed to have the race that I know I could have, but I thought, ‘If I can mentally get through this and do this race, it will give me confidence for the 200 IM.’”

So she swam. It was not especially pretty—Cox squeezed into the final in eighth, posting a sluggish time of 4:44.63, but she improved her time to 4:40.39 on her way to a fifth-place finish in the final.

That was still more than a second slower than her season-best time from Santa Clara (4:39.07), but Cox still finished the night feeling confident. After the race, she ate a full dinner for the first time—although she opted for chicken and rice, not her usual spaghetti and meatballs that she figured had contributed to her getting sick in the first place.

The 200 IM, scheduled for the meet’s final day, would be Cox’s last chance to make the World Championships team. Physically, she was fine by that point, but she still didn’t feel fully comfortable in the water, and that made her nervous.

“I didn’t know if I was going to have enough energy to swim or finish my race or what it was going to be like,” she said. “But I’ve swum the 200 IM so many times, and it’s like muscle memory to me. Once I dove in, all those nerves went away, and I just swam and raced the way I knew how to.”

As it turned out, Cox swam better in the 200 IM than she ever had before. She qualified second out of prelims in 2:10.53, her lifetime best by a half-second. In the final, Cox was third behind Margalis and Eastin at the halfway point when she made her move.

madisyn-cox-

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

“On the breaststroke, I was feeling good,” Cox said. Eddie (Reese, Texas men’s coach) and Carol had talked to me before the race about lengthening out the breaststroke, using my legs a lot so I had my arms for the freestyle. Going into the freestyle, I was like, ‘Let’s do this.’ I had energy, and I was ready to go.”

Her last two splits turned out to be faster than anybody else in the field. By the 150-meter mark, Cox has moved into second place, well ahead of Eastin and only four tenths behind Margalis. On the freestyle leg, Cox was closing in.

With 25 meters to go, it was clear that Cox was going to finish in the top two. But she wasn’t just holding off Eastin—she was running down Margalis. She would run out of room, finishing in 2:09.69, to Margalis’ 2:09.57, but it didn’t matter.

In the span of a day, Cox had chopped a second and a half off her best time. She was the eighth woman in U.S. history to go under 2:10. Most importantly, she was going to Worlds.

It was the best swim of her life, the big breakthrough moment she’d been waiting for, yet all Cox could think about was the woman who finished third: Eastin. The two had grown close during their time training and competing together at the Short Course World Championships the previous December.

Even in the aftermath of her own triumph, Cox felt deeply for her friend, who had just been dealt a second crushing blow in the span of three days.

“I was happy, definitely happy with the race. Still, my heart goes out to Ella. She’s a great competitor. I definitely love her as a friend, a competitor, all that. More than anything, I felt for her, I felt that heartbreak for her,” Cox said.

For as tough a week as Eastin dealt with emotionally, Cox pushed through her body through as much physical distress. If that illness had felled her attempt to qualify for Worlds after the superb, consistent season she had put together, that, too, would have been crushing.

But somehow, Cox persevered through all the physical challenges and kept her composure and her confidence. And when it was crunch time, she delivered a performance more impressive than most watching even realized.

Less than two hours after securing her spot in Budapest, Madisyn Cox walked across the pool deck at the IUPUI Natatorium wearing a Team USA jacket. The moment was “surreal” and “humbling,” an honor she won’t soon forget.

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‘100 per cent useless’: Pros and directors question effectiveness of new three-second rule for sprints

The new rule introduced by the UCI for the Tour de France hasn’t changed much, say some of the pros and directors at the race

The new three-second rule put into place for the 2017 Tour de France to make the bunch sprints safer “is 100 per cent useless,” say some. Others applaud the change.

>>> What type of Tour de France rider are you most like?

The UCI put into place a new rule for the Tour de France and other races saying that a bunch would only be split on time if the gap was timed at three seconds or more. Before, a split would be considered already at one second.

The idea is that it creates less pressure on the classification men to battle for positions with the sprinters in the final kilometres to avoid losing time.

“It’s useless, 100 per cent,” said Eusebio Unzué, manager at team Movistar with Nairo Quintana.

“It doesn’t do what it was created to do. Sincerely, with this rule, it’s the same thing as before. I’m for sure, even now that they started it, it’ll be 100 per cent useless.”

The UCI said that at 60kph the distance between the last rider of a group and the first of the next is 17 metres at one second. At three seconds, it is over three times more at 50 metres.

“It doesn’t affect things at all. The Tour is too nervous for guys to be thinking about guys leaving gaps,” said Orica-Scott head sports director Matt White.

“I don’t think the rule changes makes much of a difference. It’s not going to change here until the bunch sees that on days it is splitting that there is no time split. The guys see that OK, maybe I can be a little more relaxed. But the GC teams will ride the same.”

“If you have a multi-million dollar rider who’s going for a top GC placing in the Tour you are not going to just sit last wheel because they made a slight adjustment to the rules,” Charly Wegelius, Cannondale-Drapac sports director said.

“We have to be aware of the fact that winning the Tour or winning stage races is also about being one of the best bike riders. Capable of being in the peloton and riding at the front. I don’t think we should go too far and take the edges off it.”

“You still can’t afford to let any gap go because if it is over that three-second gap then it’s more than three seconds,” said Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates).

“It goes to the front of the peloton, so you’re not just losing three seconds you’re losing much more, so an extra two seconds to what you would lose before.

“It’s a start. It’s something to make it a bit safer, but I don’t think you can change much because it’s a race and you can’t just say GC neutralised for the final five kilometres because then it changes everything.”

One rule also says that if there is a crash in the final three kilometres and a rider is involved than he will not lose time. Some argued this should be extended or that the time of the bunch should be taken at a point, say three kilometres out, and let the others sprint for the stage win.


Watch: Tour de France stage three highlights


“You need a longer distance [than the three-kilometre crash rule] because if there is a crash at four kilometres then the guys lose time if the road is blocked,” Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe) explained.

“Create a rule of five kilometres for crashes or more and then neutralise the time for the GC riders. It’s safer for everyone, you saw that in the Tour de Suisse when they did so, it was much safer for the sprinters to do their job.”

“Maybe the new rule should be 10 seconds before it is considered a gap!” sprinter Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) said.

“Maybe they should consider neutralising the final three kilometres. It would be strange, but that’s a suggestion.

“[The new rule] helps for the GC guys and helps for the sprinters. They should be less nervous because they have a bigger gap now, 50 metres. But let’s see.”

“This is better than before even if three seconds is small,” said Daniele Bennati, domestique for Quintana. “It’s good that GC men can relax a bit before and avoid those crashes and us helpers can stay a little calmer.

“Still, it’s clear that we have to always stay attentive because we can’t allow a gap for Quintana. If you are in the first 25, it’s difficult that you get caught out, but that’s stressful to stay there.”


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Wimbledon 2017: Kyle Edmund beats Alex Ward in all-British contest

Kyle Edmund

Wimbledon 2017 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 3-16 July Starts: 11:30 BST
Live: Coverage across BBC TV, BBC Radio and BBC Sport website with further coverage on Red Button, Connected TVs and app. Click for full times.

Kyle Edmund fought back to claim his first Wimbledon win and end the hopes of fellow Briton and world number 869 Alex Ward.

Edmund, ranked 50th, won 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-1 on court three to reach the second round for the first time – at the fifth time of asking.

Ward, 27, had come through qualifying to take his place in the main draw.

Edmund, 22, goes on to face French 15th seed Gael Monfils or Daniel Brands of Germany in round two.

Fellow Britons James Ward, Brydan Klein and Katie Boulter are in action later on day two, after Andy Murray, Aljaz Bedene, Johanna Konta and Heather Watson all won on Monday.

Edmund rises to the challenge

Ward captured the headlines heading into the all-British contest but it was as big a match for Edmund, who was without a win on grass this year and had recently split from his coach.

The British number two appeared the more nervous, dropping serve in the first game and failing to get the deficit back as a confident Ward took the set.

A shock was a realistic possibility until midway through the second set, when Edmund rose to the challenge and showed the class which has taken him to the world’s top 50.

The Yorkshireman dropped just six games in three sets to secure his second-round place.

Ward who missed six months through injury last year, leaves the All England Club with £35,000 in prize money and his ranking projected to rise around 300 places.

Analysis

Former British number one John Lloyd on BBC Two

A very fine performance by Kyle Edmund after a dodgy start. He was on a hiding to nothing going up against a fellow Brit. He started badly, a set down but had faith in his ability to come back.

His game improved, he was aggressive in the right way and his serve got better. This will do him the power of good. Ward ran out of gas. He looked fatigued, but has made a bit of money and hopefully now he can push his ranking up.

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