Gaudin wins prologue
Frenchman Damien Gaudin, riding for Europcar, won Sunday’s Paris-Nice prologue, a 2.9km time trial around Houilles west of Paris. Gaudin bagged the yellow jersey after seeing off compatriot Sylvain Chavanel and Dutchman Lieuwe Westra as the 26-year-old garnered his first career win five years after turning professional. Yesterday’s first stage proper was a 195km ride from Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Nemours.
Sexton in, O’Gara dropped
Flyhalf Jonathan Sexton has been included in Ireland’s 32-man training squad for Saturday’s Six Nations game against France, but there was no place for Ronan O’Gara. Flyhalf O’Gara, Ireland’s most capped player and scorer of a record 1,083 points for his country, has struggled for form and was relegated to third-choice No. 10 for last month’s match against Scotland that Ireland lost 12-8. Sexton, who tore a hamstring during the 12-6 defeat by England on Feb. 10, Paddy Jackson, who made his debut against Scotland, and uncapped Ian Madigan were the three flyhalves named in the squad by the Irish RFU on Sunday. Locks Mike McCarthy and Donnacha Ryan and wing Craig Gilroy were named in the squad, despite nursing injuries. Ireland are fourth in the Six Nations table with one win from three matches.
Female kicker limps out
Lauren Silberman’s history-making NFL tryout ended quickly. Silberman, the first woman to take part in a regional scouting combine sponsored by the NFL, suffered a leg injury after two kickoffs on Sunday and had to bow out. According to a report, Silberman appeared to be in discomfort after her first kick, which went about 15 yards, at the New York Jets’ indoor training facility. She tried another kickoff and it traveled only 14 yards. Silberman, a 28-year-old New York City resident who played club soccer at the University of Wisconsin, said she aggravated an injury she suffered last week while training.
Gulbis captures title
Ernests Gulbis celebrated his second Delray Beach International title after edging French journeyman Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 on Sunday. Latvian Gulbis, the 2010 champion, found himself in his first final since 2011 after the top seeds all crashed out and after weathering a stiff challenge in the first set, was too strong for the 105th-ranked Frenchman. “I’m really happy. I worked hard,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “I’m exhausted now. [This is] my favorite tournament. It’s the only tournament in the world I am winning.” The 67th-ranked Gulbis was understating his record, but only slightly, having sandwiched his Delray Beach wins with the Los Angeles trophy in 2011 for a career total of three ATP titles. The 29-year-old Roger-Vasselin was playing in his first final, however, and the gap in experience showed as Gulbis saved a set point before forcing a tiebreak which he comfortably won 7-3. Gulbis rode the momentum through the second set to quickly wrap up the match, but Roger-Vasselin was not too disconsolate with the loss, having previously held a 0-5 record in quarter-finals. “When you lose in a final, it’s tough, but it was a great week for me,” he said. “It will give me confidence for the next tournament.” US duo James Blake and Jack Sock defeated Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-4, 6-4 to claim the doubles title.