Pinot maintains Suisse lead
Sprint specialist Peter Sagan of Slovakia tied a Tour de Suisse record with his 11th career stage win in the 82-year-old race, and Thibaut Pinot retained the overall lead on Thursday. Sagan’s victory in a 193km sixth stage from Wil to Biel tied him with Swiss greats Hugo Koblet and Ferdi Kuebler, who raced in the 1940s and 1950s. The Tinkoff-Saxo rider outpaced Jurgen Roelandts of Belgium and Alexander Kristoff of Norway after more than four-and-a-half hours in the saddle. Pinot conceded five seconds in the overall standings to Geraint Thomas of Britain, who placed 11th and trails the Frenchman by 42 seconds. The nine-day race, the last major warm-up for the Tour de France, should be decided in a final time trial stage tomorrow.
ARU announces three Tests
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has announced a three-Test series against England scheduled for June next year in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. The ARU yesterday said that the Tests would be in Brisbane on June 11, Melbourne on June 18 and Sydney on June 25. The Melbourne Test is to take place at the 30,000-capacity AAMI Park rather than the 53,000-seat Docklands Stadium used in the past, while the last match is to be at the 45,000-capacity Sydney Football Stadium and not the 80,000-seat Olympic stadium in the city’s west. The ARU said smaller venues would improve the atmosphere for fans. It will be the first time that Australia and England, who first played each other in 1909, have met in a three-Test series in Australia.
Mustafina secures title
Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina won the inaugural European Games women’s all-around title to lay down a marker to her rivals for Olympic gold medals next year. Mustafina won with a score of 58.566 points, exactly one point lower than the score that won her Olympic bronze in 2012. Second place went to Switzerland’s Giulia Steingruber on 56.699, with bronze for Lieke Wevers of the Netherlands, who scored 55.065. Mustafina can add to her medal haul tomorrow, when four gold medals are on offer in individual apparatus events. Also on Thursday, Ukraine’s Oleg Vernyaev won the men’s all-around with a 90.332, with silver for Azerbaijan’s Oleg Stepko on 89.065 and bronze for Russian Nikita Ignatyev on 87.365.
Lemieux, N’Dam to face off
David Lemieux and Hassan N’Dam are to clash today for the vacant International Boxing Federation middleweight world title, both eyeing elite status in one of boxing’s hottest divisions. Canada’s Lemieux is an explosive puncher who hopes a title will put him in line for potentially lucrative bouts with the likes of unbeaten Kazakh Gennady Golovkin and the devastating Miguel Cotto. “I’ve been waiting for a long time to be able to become a world champion. It is my time,” said Lemieux, who has won eight straight fights since enduring back-to-back defeats in 2011. With 31 of his 33 career victories coming by knockout, Lemieux believes he has the warrior mentality that fight fans crave — and that makes him a worthy opponent for the division’s best. “I want to destroy people and win the fight. That’s what people want to see,” he said. The 33-2 Lemieux and N’Dam — 31-1 with 18 knockouts — will be fighting for the title stripped in February from Jermain Taylor, who is contesting assault charges in Arkansas.
Kamaru Usman put on a Fight Island masterclass yesterday to retain his UFC welterweight world title by grinding down a brave Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi. “I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,” said the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards. The Nigerian-American Usman (17-1) looked the fresher fighter, with Masvidal (35-14) having taken the UFC251 headline bout at just six days’ notice when Brazil’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to travel. The Las Vegas-based UFC pulled off a power-packed schedule with
Thailand international Pitsamai Sornsai, a new arrival for Inter Taoyuan, is to lead her team against Taipei Bravo tomorrow in the 10th round of the Taiwan Mulan Football League. Sornsai, who is nicknamed Pui, has attracted interest from media and fans as the first foreigner signed to play in Taiwan’s women’s league. Inter are among six teams battling for the title this year. The addition of Sornsai is a boost for the international profile of women’s soccer in Taiwan and elevates the competition. The 31-year-old brings a wealth of experience, including from the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Championship, the Southeast Asian Games and
MONKEYS ALSO WIN: The Rakuten Monkeys kept the Brothers from the first-half title as they dominated the Uni-President Lions, scoring four in the fourth The CTBC Brothers still need another win to clinch the first-half CPBL title, despite thrashing the hapless Fubon Guardians 17-0 yesterday, after the Rakuten Monkeys beat the Uni-President Lions 9-2. Fans of CTBC Brothers were hoping to celebrate the first-half title, with a crowd of more than 10,000 packed into the Taichung Intercontinental Stadium for their home game against the Guardians. The figure was an attendance record for this year, when baseball and most other major sports events worldwide have been played in empty venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Entering the game, CTBC had pushed their magic number down to 2, meaning
Preparing to complete a ninth Serie A campaign without winning the scudetto, AC Milan decided that returning to the pinnacle of club soccer required a new approach. Roc Nation, the entertainment agency of US rapper Jay-Z is at the center of it, linking up with Milan to scour the world for sponsors, and use concerts and other high-profile events to attract new fans. And who better to ask about how to end a title drought than the team who just won their league for the first time in 30 years? “We have been talking to Liverpool, because they’ve been through the same path