Defending champs win stage
Defending bike champion Marc Coma of Spain won Monday’s second stage of the Dakar Rally and also claimed the category lead after the 295km leg. In cars, defending champion Nasser Al-Attiyah won the stage with Stephane Peterhansel of France taking the overall lead. This year’s edition of the rally, considered one of the most dangerous events in motor sports, has already claimed three lives. Argentine bike rider Jorge Martinez Boero died in a crash in Sunday’s first stage and on the same day the pilot of an ultralight plane, and his son, died when the aircraft went down as it was following the race. Rescue officials identified the dead as Luis Marcelo Soldavini, 37, and his son Tomas, 11. Coma finished the special stage in 3 hours, 7 minutes, 21 seconds. He was 1 minute, 18 seconds ahead of KTM teammate Cyril Despres of France and 2:33 ahead of Spanish rider Joan Barreda Bort. In the overall standings, Coma was 2:30 ahead of Francisco Lopez of Chile and 2:52 in front of Despres. Al-Attiyah, driving a Hummer, finished the stage in 2:47:18. He was 54 seconds in front of Peterhansel in a Mini, and 2:42 ahead of Hummer teammate Robby Gordon of the US. Overall, Peterhansel is 2:28 ahead of Gordon and 2:33 in front of first-day leader Krzysztof Holowczyc of Poland. Al-Attiyah is in sixth place overall, 8:47 back.
Gary Ablett dies aged 46
Gary Ablett, who made history by becoming the only player to win the FA Cup with both Liverpool and Everton, has died at the age of 46 after a long battle against cancer. Ablett, who had a season as Stockport manager in 2009-2010, lost his 16-month fight against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Sunday. Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, who handed Ablett his debut during his first stint as boss at Anfield, offered his condolences. “It’s a sad, sad day for his family and everyone connected with Liverpool Football Club,” he told the club’s Web site. “The most important thing just now is to pay our respects to Gary, his wife Jacqueline, the two boys and his wee girl. Obviously, he had a long battle and I’m sure it was a lot of suffering and a lot of pain for him, but the only thing you can say is at least he won’t be suffering any longer ... He was a really good servant to the football club not only as a player, but also as reserve team coach ... It’s very sad for everybody.”
Chinese inks Brazil deal
He was born in China’s Guangdong Province and speaks just a smattering of Portuguese, but by this time next year fans of one of Brazil’s most famous teams may well be calling him “Chenzinho.” Chen Zhizhao, a 23-year-old midfielder, has become the first Chinese player to join a top-flight club in the land of the “beautiful game.” In an interview with the Globo Esporte Web site, Flavio Pires, the agent behind Chen’s arrival, said he hoped more players would follow. “We want to bring more players from China and Japan to play in Brazilian football,” he said. The idea of bringing a Chinese player to Corinthians surfaced earlier this year when marketing director Luis Paulo Rosenberg reportedly said his club planned to bring in “any old rubbish from China” in order to promote his club’s brand in Asia. Pires admitted Chen was not expected to become the next Pele. “He’s not a player who is coming to play immediately [or] to fight for a place with Corinthians’ top athletes,” Pires said. “We will all need to be patient with him and, if it works out, it will be important to take the club’s name to a country where more than 1 billion people live.”