Contador wins stage, Tour
Spain’s Alberto Contador, riding for the Astana team, won the Tour of the Basque Country on Saturday after clinching the sixth and final stage, a 24km time trial around the town of Zalla. It was the second straight Tour of the Basque Country title win for the defending Giro d’Italia and Spanish Vuelta champion. “It’s incredible how I continue to progress in my time trial work,” said Contador, who took part in the event as part of his preparations for the Tour de France. “Two, three years ago this would have been impossible. I am a typical climber, in theory we are not so strong in time trial work. This gives me confidence for the next goal, the Tour de France,” he said.
Hermida wins cross-country
Olympic champion Julien Absalon of France had to settle for second place behind Spaniard Jose Hermida on Saturday in the World Mountain Bike Cup cross-country race. In a thrilling race, near the KwaZulu-Natal city watched by 6,000 spectators, Absalon moved to the front at the halfway mark, with only Hermida and South African Barry Stander able to respond. The lead changed one lap later with Hermida building a 15-second advantage that kept him in front until the finish and Absalon held off a late Stander surge. Austrian Elisabeth Osl won the women’s race for the first time, with Russian Irina Kalentieva surviving a late challenge from Norwegian Lene Byberg to finish second.
Ancelotti rules out move
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti categorically ruled out a move to Chelsea on Saturday following his side’s 1-0 win at Chievo in Serie A. Earlier in the week, the Sun newspaper in England had claimed that a deal was done between Chelsea and Ancelotti that would see the Italian coach move to London in the summer. But the 49-year-old, who has been at Milan since 2001, said that simply was not true. “I’m ruling out the possibility of going to Chelsea and I don’t have to give any explanations either,” he said, before adding tongue in cheek: “I’m ruling out Manchester United as well.” Milan kept their hold on third place with the victory courtesy of Clarence Seedorf’s goal eight minutes into the second half, but the game ended on a sour note for Ancelotti who was sent from the dug out for the first time as coach of the club.
Bordeaux go top of Ligue 1
Bordeaux took over from Lyon at the top of Ligue 1 on goal difference with a 2-0 win at mid-table Auxerre on Saturday. Bordeaux, who notched a fourth win in a row with goals by Brazilians Fernando and Wendel, lead the table on 59 points with seven games left. Toulouse defeated lowly Nantes 1-0 to climb to fourth place thanks to Ligue 1 top scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac, who took his tally to 19 with a 25m, left-footed shot that went in off the post.
Stoner takes pole position
Australian Casey Stoner took pole position on his Ducati for a night-time MotoGP race on a dusty track at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on Saturday. The 2007 world champion clocked a lap record of 1 minute, 55.286 seconds and starts ahead of six-times world champion Valentino Rossi and the Italian’s Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo of Spain. The 23-year-old Stoner complained about the weather conditions at the Doha circuit, which was dusty after light rain dried up in the Gulf Arab capital. “I think it is going to be very risky toward the end of the race tomorrow [Sunday],” Stoner said.