New Zealand stomp Canada
New Zealand’s in-form Ross Taylor and opener Brendon McCullum blitzed Canada yesterday, helping to fire the Black Caps into the World Cup quarter-finals with a thumping 97-run win in Mumbai, India. New Zealand scored a mammoth 358 for 6 in their 50 overs and it proved too much for the minnows, who never looked remotely like challenging the target, and ended on 261-9 after their 50 overs. Canada were in a perilous position at 4-2 before captain Ashish Bagai (84) and Jimmy Hansra (70 not out) came together to put on 125 for the fourth wicket and give the scoreboard a look of respectability. Veteran John Davison was dismissed in bizarre fashion, run out by a direct hit from wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum as he ambled a single when he was in no danger. Kyle Mills did the early damage for the Black Caps, dismissing Ruvindu Gunasekera and Zubin Surkari with just four runs on the board, but he had to leave the field injured midway through his third over. Jacob Oram took 3-47. Earlier, stand-in skipper Taylor came to the crease at the Wankhede Stadium in the 30th over with his side on 149-2 after a steady start and injected urgency into the innings. In one devastating over Taylor, who smashed 131 in 124 balls against Pakistan, took 28 off Harvir Baidwan, smashing four sixes and a four.
Cuche wins Super G
Didier Cuche of Switzerland bounced back from a forgettable day of ski racing to claim his 17th career World Cup victory in the men’s super-G in Kvitfjell, Norway, yesterday. Austrians Klaus Kroell and Joachim Puchner took second and third place respectively. Cuche had endured a tough Saturday when he lost the lead of the downhill standings to Austrian Michael Walchhofer and he saw Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic build an unassailable lead over him in the overall title race. To rub salt into his wounds, International Ski Federation (FIS) officials handed Cuche a fine of 5,000 Swiss francs (US$5,375) after he complained rather too vociferously about one of the jumps on the men’s downhill course being too dangerous. The Swiss, however, put those events behind him with a storming run down to Olympiabakken to win in 1 minute, 33.05 seconds.
Juve end losing streak
Juventus ended a three-match losing streak despite playing more than half the game with 10 men as they were held 2-2 at lowly Cesena in Rome on Saturday. A brace from Alessandro Matri had given the Turin giants a two-goal lead, but their hosts hit back through a Luis Jimenez penalty and Marco Parolo after Marco Motta was sent off. The point did nothing to help Juve’s hopes of securing European soccer next season as they remain seventh, while Cesena are still hovering just above the drop zone. After a slow opening, the game sparked into life on 19 minutes as Alessandro Del Piero burst forward from halfway and slipped in Matri, who shot back across goakeeper Francesco Antonioli and into the corner. It could have been two when a clever Del Piero backheel set up Simone Pepe, but he scuffed his volley into the ground, the ball bouncing tamely into Antonioli’s arms. Emanuele Giaccherini should have equalized for Cesena on 27 minutes, but instead produced probably the miss of the season.
Martin holds Paris-Nice lead
HTC-Highroad’s Tony Martin of Germany retained the lead in the Paris-Nice after Saturday’s stormy seventh stage was won by French rider Remy Di Gregorio. This first major-stage race of the season is known as the “Race to the Sun,” but there was little of that in evidence as strong winds and rain made life difficult for the peloton during the 215.5km ride. One man singing in the rain was Marseille-born Di Gregorio, who made his winning move 13km from the finish to edge home a chasing group headed by Spain’s Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez. It was only the 25-year-old Astana team member’s second career stage win after picking up a stage on the 2006 Tour de l’Avenir. Saturday’s stage, the longest of the race, was marked by a clutch of falls as the slippery surface took its toll and there were a number of key retirements, including Frank Schleck, suffering from a stomach problem, Ireland’s Nicolas Roche and Slovak rider Peter Sagan, who was regarded as a potential winner of the race. Martin, who came in fifth, described the stage as “a very difficult day.” Yesterday’s concluding stage was an arduous 124km run north of Nice.
Matteson in front by three
Troy Matteson of the US took a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Puerto Rico Open after firing a six-under-par 66 on Saturday. Matteson is 16-under for the tournament and his closest challenger is compatriot Hunter Haas, who stayed in contention by mixing five birdies and one bogey for a four-under-par 68. American Michael Bradley is a further shot back at 12-under, while a quintet of players that includes Zimbabwean Brendan de Jonge and Argentine Angel Cabrera are six shots off the lead. “I’m just going to go out and try to do the same things I did the first couple days. I’m going to try to hit solid shots, give myself looks at birdie,” Matteson said. “There are so many birdies to be made out here, you know, three shots is nothing.”
Scarponi wins fourth stage
Michele Scarponi lived up to his reputation as an attacking rider when he won the fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race on Saturday. The Lampre rider was the aggressor with 2km left, and despite stalling in the uphill finish, he held off teammate and fellow Italian Damiano Cunego and Australian Cadel Evans. However, it was not enough to unsettle race favorite Robert Gesink, as the Dutchman took the overall lead from American Tyler Farrar. All the big names moved up front before the tough uphill finish and Scarponi was the first to break away, Evans finishing the strongest, but he failed to pip Scarponi and Cunego. Rabobank’s Gesink leads Evans by 10 seconds overall, with Giro d’Italia champion Ivan Basso in third place 12 seconds off the pace. Scarponi is fourth 15 seconds behind Gesink. The peloton gathered for a minute’s silence for the victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami before the start of the 240km stage that passed through the city of L’Aquila, devastated by an earthquake in 2009. “I’m worried. My parents were safe, but there is so much damage because of this disaster. When I think about it, my heart is very painful,” Japanese rider Fumi Beppu of Team RadioShack wrote on Twitter.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to