Moncoutie wins stage
Controversial Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde stayed on course to win the Dauphine Libere race after Frenchman David Moncoutie won the seventh and penultimate stage of the race on Saturday. Moncoutie beat Dutchman Robert Gesink by around 40 seconds while former yellow jersey wearer Cadel Evans was third. Valverde, who faces a worldwide doping ban if cycling’s world ruling body the UCI acts upon evidence yet to be delivered by the Italian sporting authorities, finished alongside Evans, some 15 seconds ahead of compatriot and 2007 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.
Cancellara returns to form
Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara returned to form to win the opening stage of the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday. The Swiss rider clocked 9 minutes, 21 seconds in a 7.8km time trial over flat terrain in neighboring Liechtenstein. Roman Kreuziger of the Czech Republic was 19 seconds behind and Germany’s Andreas Kloeden trailed Cancellara by 21 seconds in third place. George Hincapie of the US was a further three seconds back as Team Columbia-Highroad riders filled the placings from fourth to seventh. Cancellara was claiming just his second stage victory of the season, after winning the Tour of California prologue in February. He pulled out of that race the next day with flu and has been slowed by shoulder injuries since.
Trio reach top flight
Tenerife, Xerez and Zaragoza earned promotion to Spain’s topflight division on Saturday. Xerez’s 2-1 victory over Huesca assured its first promotion in the club’s 62-year history, while Tenerife beat Girona 1-0 to return after seven years. Zaragoza’s 3-1 victory over Cordoba saw them return after only one season in the second division. One round still remains in the second division, but fourth-place Hercules are five points behind Zaragoza and four behind Tenerife and Xerez. The three clubs replace Real Betis, Recreativo Huelva and Numancia next season. Alaves, who lost the UEFA Cup final to Liverpool in 2001, were relegated to the third division.
Cahill booted out of club
Australian international Tim Cahill was kicked out of a Sydney nightclub after a drunken fracas, reports said yesterday. Newspapers said the Everton player was told to leave the nightspot on Friday because of his drunken state. Several witnesses told the Sunday Telegraph Cahill got into an altercation at the club when he was advised to leave because he was “so drunk he couldn’t even stand up.” But Football Federation Australia (FFA) said it investigated the allegations and found them untrue. “FFA has made inquiries of Tim, the other players and their partners who were present and venue management,” an FFA statement said yesterday. “FFA is satisfied that the allegation is untrue. FFA understands that Tim left the premises when asked to do so when it was closing, along with all other patrons.” According to newspaper accounts, Cahill became angry when he was refused service by bar staff and became involved in an argument which escalated into a physical “push and shove” with club security before he was shown the door. “He then got outside where it was about 10 of them, including other players and about five security,” one witness told the Sunday Telegraph. “They were fired up and looked like they wanted to go on with it, but then they jumped in a car and got out of there.”
Hart pulls out of US Open
American Dudley Hart has withdrawn from next week’s US Open Championship because of back problems, organizers said on Saturday. The 40-year-old Hart, who has two US Tour wins to his credit, last year was voted Comeback Player of the Year. Taking his place will be 20-year-old amateur Scott Lewis of Goleta, California. On Friday, Swede Robert Karlsson, the European No. 1 last year, withdrew from the championship because of an eye infection. Karlsson, who tied for fourth in last year’s US Open at Torrey Pines, was replaced in the field at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York, by American Andrew Svoboda.
Mercury set scoring record
Phoenix Mercury set a WNBA record for most points in a game, winning 115-104 in overtime against the Sacramento Monarchs on Saturday. Diana Taurasi scored 31 points and Le’Coe Willingham added 26 as Phoenix recovered after squandering a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. Mercury’s score topped the 114 scored by Minnesota against Los Angeles in 2006. The 219 aggregate points were also the third-highest combined total. Taurasi scored eight points in overtime, including two three-pointers early in the extra period to help Phoenix pull away. Nicole Powell scored 15 of her 28 points in the fourth quarter for Sacramento. In San Antonio, Texas, New York Liberty remain winless in the new season after the San Antonio Silver Stars scored a narrow 63-60 victory. Becky Hammon scored 10 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter to rally San Antonio in its home opener. Shameka Christon scored 21 points to lead New York, which lost its third straight to open the new season, and its sixth straight against the Silver Stars. San Antonio shot 22 for 30 on free throws as New York was whistled for 21 fouls. The Liberty were 9 for 10 from the line.
Yoshida records first loss
Japan’s first female professional player struggled with her control in recording her first loss on Friday. Eri Yoshida, a 17-year-old who throws a sidearm knuckleball, took the mound in the ninth inning with the score tied 2-2. With two outs and a runner on third base, Yoshida threw a wild pitch, allowing the winning run to score as the Akashi Red Soldiers won 3-2 against the Kobe Cruise 9. Yoshida also hit a batter with a pitch and threw wildly to first base trying to hold a runner before recording the final out with a strikeout. Yoshida created a stir when she signed a contract in December. Some speculated the move was more of a publicity stunt to generate interest in the four-team Kansai Independent League, which has struggled amid Japan’s worsening economic conditions. The 1.52m, 52kg Yoshida has appeared in only three of the Cruise 9’s 22 games this season.
Umpire ejects entire crowd
An umpire has emptied the stands at a high school baseball game in West Burlington, Ohio, ejecting the entire crowd of more than 100 fans for being unruly. Umpire Don Briggs said he had no problem with any of the student athletes during Thursday’s game between Winfield-Mount Union and West Burlington. He said he had to take action because fans were being unruly, yelling and arguing, and called police as a precaution. However, West Burlington superintendent James Sleister said he didn’t see any unusual behavior and said he thought the umpire overreacted. The game resumed after a 40-minute delay. West Burlington won 12-11.
Taiwan national team manager Henry Vom on Sunday had a successful debut in charge of Taichung Futuro, winning 3-2 against league leaders Taipower with a goal deep in stoppage-time, which combined with the results from the other matches saw the gaps close at the top of the Taiwan Football Premier League table. Besides the big win for Futuro, Hang Yuan edged Taitung 1-0, Taiwan Steel dominated National Taiwan University of Sport 4-1 and the Red Lions held Ming Chuan University to a 1-1 draw. Vom took over Futuro after previous coach Toshiaki Imai returned home to Japan. Imai, who also managed the national
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational