Manzano offered a bribe
Former Spanish cyclist Jesus Manzano, who triggered a police probe two years ago by claiming widespread doping in the sport, has told police he was offered a bribe to withdraw his allegations, a leading newspaper said on Saturday. Spanish daily El Pais said the former Kelme racer, who has admitted using blood doping treatments, lodged a formal complaint about the alleged bribe to police investigators on Nov. 14. In the complaint, Manzano said he went to the Madrid office of his lawyer, Santiago Lucas, in September to discuss the doping allegations he first made in 2004. According to the El Pais report, Manzano said he was told by Lucas that Carlos Bueren -- a lawyer reportedly acting for former Liberty Seguros team director Manuel Saiz -- had offered him money to withdraw his allegations.
■ Rugby Union
Georgia qualifies for Cup
Georgia qualified for next year's Rugby World Cup when it drew with Portugal 11-11 in Lisbon on Saturday, winning their two-leg playoff 28-14 on aggregate and claiming Europe's last automatic qualifying berth. Georgia won the first leg 17-3 at home on Nov. 11 and it's defense was too good at University of Lisbon Stadium on Saturday for Portugal to overcome the 14-point deficit. The Lelos qualified for their second World Cup in Pool D with host France, Ireland, Argentina and Namibia. The Georgians made their Cup debut in 2003 in Australia and didn't win a pool match. Portugal and Morocco, trying to reach their first Cup, will play off in January for the right to meet Uruguay. The winner of that repechage will qualify. In the repechage for the only other available 2007 Cup berth, South Korea faces Tonga.
Soriano plans warmup
Alfonso Soriano wants to warm up for his Chicago Cubs debut by playing for his hometown team in the Dominican winter league. "I'm going to ask permission to play for the Eastern Stars when I get back to Chicago for the press conference where they're going to introduce me next week," the slugger told the press on Friday after arriving in the Caribbean country. Soriano's new eight-year, US$136 million contract with the Cubs is the fifth-richest in the history of Major League Baseball.
Zuleta now a free agent
Panamanian infielder Julio Zuleta has failed in his bid to re-sign with the Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League and will become a free agent on Thursday. Zuleta, who batted .281 with 29 homers and 91 RBIs this season for the Hawks, was seeking a multiyear deal with Softbank but talks broke down. "Since the end of the 2006 season, it has been my primary goal to reach an agreement with the Hawks on a multiyear contract," Zuleta said in a statement released yesterday. "Unfortunately, we were unable to do so."