Mon, Apr 19, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Sport Briefs



Contador takes control

Two-time winner Alberto Contador took control of Spain’s Vuelta de Castilla y Leon on Saturday after winning the race’s fourth stage time trial over 15.1km at Ponferrada. Astana team leader Contador, a favorite to defend his Tour de France title in July, now holds a significant 41 second lead over overnight leader Igor Anton of Euskaltel. The stage race, on which Lance Armstrong crashed and broke his collarbone last year, finished yesterday with a fifth stage held over 171.6 km between Samos and Saint Jacques de Compostella. Contador, who won the Tour de France in 2007 and last year, won this race in 2007 and 2008.


Schiavone claims title

Top-seeded Francesca Schiavone beat Italian compatriot Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-1 to win the Barcelona Ladies Open on Saturday. Schiavone broke her friend and the defending champion five times and saved all three break chances against her in the hour-long final. Schiavone’s third career WTA Tour title in her 13th final ended unseeded Vinci’s 9-0 winning run in the tournament, including a victory over Schiavone in last year’s semi-finals. It was also Vinci’s first loss in a singles final, though she rebounded to win the doubles title with countrywoman Sara Errani, who defeated Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland and Tathiana Garbin of Italy, 6-1, 3-6, 10-2. Vinci and Errani also won the Marbella title last weekend. All three Italians will team up this week when they defend their Fed Cup title in a home semi-final against the Czech Republic.


Loeb leads in Turkey

Citroen’s world champion Sebastien Loeb took a 16.2 second advantage into the final day of the Rally of Turkey after vaulting into the lead on Saturday. The six times champion, chasing his third win in a row after just four rounds of the season, stamped his authority on the second day after starting fifth overall. Overnight leader Sebastien Ogier, driving for the Citroen junior team, lost the lead when he stopped on stage 15 to change a punctured tire, costing him three minutes and dropping him to fifth place. Norway’s Petter Solberg, in a privately-entered Citroen, was in second place with Finland’s Mikko Hirvonen third and just 1.1 seconds further back in his Ford. Former Formula One world champ Kimi Raikkonen moved up to sixth place.


Sharks tame Lions

Coastal Sharks clung to a slim chance of reaching the Super 14 semi-finals with a 32-28 victory over fellow South Africans Golden Lions in an Ellis Park thriller on Saturday. Success lifted the Durban franchise to ninth position, nine points behind fourth-placed Queensland Reds with four rounds left. But achieving a fourth consecutive win was hard work for captain John Smit and his men as they resisted late Lions pressure to stretch an unbeaten run against the Johannesburg team to nine years after leading 22-18 at half-time. After fly-half Herkie Kruger landed an early penalty for the Lions, the visitors ran riot with Patrick Lambie, Odwa Ndungane and Bismarck du Plessis dotting down. But after establishing a 19-6 advantage, the Sharks lost the initiative and tries by Michael Killian and Franco van der Merwe left the home team only four points adrift at half-time. Jacques Botes secured Sharks bonus-point fourth try four minutes after the break and a penalty from Ruan Pienaar put the Sharks 32-21 ahead midway through the half. The Lions’ Derick Minnie set up a thrilling finish with a 63rd-minute try that Kruger converted.

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