Vincenzo Nibali’s maiden Giro d’Italia triumph was feted in lavish fashion in pink-clad Brescia on Sunday, but there was more than one reason behind the fervor surrounding the Italian’s success.
In a doping-tainted era marked by the disgrace of several compatriots and, last year, the downfall of US cyclist Lance Armstrong, Nibali has been held up as a symbol of hope for the renaissance of Italian, and international, cycling.
So far, the 28-year-old Sicilian has avoided the kind of scandal to befall compatriots like Danilo di Luca and Ivan Basso, both former Giro winners who went on to serve doping bans.
Nibali’s calm demeanor belies the “Shark” nickname given to him in the peloton, because of his aggressive riding — downhill as well as up — but sits comfortably with the general perception that he is a clean cycling champion.
Nibali says he has nothing to hide, but insists he is not alone in the modern day peloton.
“Since I left Sicily for Tuscany as a 16-year-old to follow my dream, I’ve had very strong ethical values instilled in me,” Nibali said after sealing victory on Sunday with a lead of nearly five minutes on Colombian Rigoberto Uran. “I’m happy to be seen as one of the leaders of this new generation, but I don’t think I’m the only one in the peloton who holds these values.”
Coming only days after the race’s second doping positive was revealed — the first being Frenchman Sylvain George’s positive for an over-the-counter remedy — Nibali’s comments led weight to the perception that Italian cycling, which has seen several big names implicated or snared in controversy in recent years, is getting its act together.
Nibali notably spoke out on Friday last week after former teammate Di Luca, the 2007 race champion, quit the Giro in disgrace following confirmation of a positive test for the banned blood booster EPO during a random control test last month.
Di Luca, 37, has been sanctioned twice in the past for his implication in doping affairs.
“The news about Danilo di Luca is very bad. It leaves us, the riders, to pay the price,” Nibali said.
A thrilling battle with Sky’s Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome at the Tour de France last year left the Italian in third, but this year there will be no repeat.
”The Tour isn’t in my plans or even in my thoughts,” Nibali said.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to