Zabriskie grabs overall lead
David Zabriskie of the US grabbed the Tour of California lead on Thursday with a dominant victory in the stage five individual time trial. Zabriskie, 33, who has won stages in all of cycling’s Grand Tours and who led the 2005 Tour de France for three days, completed the 29.7km flat course in 35 minutes, 59 seconds. Germany’s Jens Voigt was 23 seconds behind, while Tejay van Garderen of the US placed third, trailing by 34 seconds as temperatures reached 35oC for the second successive day. “I came out here in February and videotaped the course,” Zabriskie said. “I had a few spots where I wanted to soft pedal, but maintain speed. It sounds weird, but you can do it. The turnaround was one of those spots. This was a really good course for me.” Zabriskie also won the time trial last year and finished second overall in the event in 2010.
Luhukay signs deal at Hertha
Hertha BSC Berlin have appointed Jos Luhukay of the Netherlands as their new coach after the 48-year-old former Augsburg boss signed a two-year deal on Thursday as they prepare for life in the second division. “We are very pleased that we could take Jos Luhukay for the next two years,” Hertha manager Michael Preetz said. Luhukay replaces former Greece coach Otto Rehhagel, who took over in February, but was unable to prevent Berlin going down as they lost the German league relegation playoff against Fortuna Duesseldorf 4-3 on aggregate. Hertha have appealed to the German Football Federation after chaotic scenes in Tuesday’s second-leg match in Duesseldorf blighted the 2-2 draw as two separate pitch invasions caused lengthy delays. The result confirmed Hertha’s relegation after Fortuna won the first-leg 2-1 in the capital, but Berlin’s appeal was being heard by the federation yesterday. Excluding caretaker coaches, Luhukay, whose resume includes stints with Cologne and Borussia Moenchengladbach, is Hertha’s fifth coach in five years.
Reja quits Lazio ... definitely
SS Lazio coach Edy Reja has quit the Roman club and insists he will not change his mind this time. Reja reportedly considered resigning twice last season, saying he was tired of working under fierce protests from Lazio fans after defeats to Genoa and Fiorentina. Reja announced his decision in an interview with Web site Cittaceleste.it on Thursday, citing the “negative atmosphere” and the “continued criticism.” He said that club president Claudio Lotito asked him to stay and that “even after my refusal, he asked me to have a rethink, to take a week to reflect, but I have already made my decision.” Lazio missed out on Champions League qualification on the last day of the Serie A season and finished fourth, two points behind third-placed Udinese.
Sanchez to coach Sporting
Manuel Sanchez is to coach Sporting de Gijon next season following the resignation of Javier Clemente, the Spanish club announced on Thursday. Clemente, a former Spain national coach, joined Sporting in February to replace Inaki Tejada, who had been appointed on an interim basis after Manuel Preciado was sacked. Clemente arrived hoping to save Sporting from relegation, but he was unable to prevent the club from slipping into the second tier after they finished the season in 19th place. “For next season, the new coach of the first team will be Manuel Sanchez Murias,” read a statement from Sporting on the club’s Web site.