Tue, May 03, 2016 - Page 18 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

SOCCER

Marseille avoid relegation

Nine-time Ligue 1 champions Olympique de Marseille secured their top-flight status with a 1-0 victory at Angers SCO on Sunday. Marseille, the only French side to win the UEFA Champions League after lifting the trophy in 1993, had previously gone 11 league games without a win, slipping as low as 16th in the standings, with three matches to play. Michy Batshuayi’s 24th-minute strike was enough to see off Angers, taking Marseille up to 13th, eight points clear of 18th-placed Stade de Reims. Marseille sustained a title challenge before an end-of-season slump last term, ending the campaign in fourth and missing out on Champions League qualification by two points. Coach Marcelo Bielsa stepped down in the hours after their opening-day defeat by Stade Malherbe Caen this season and his replacement, Michel, lasted only until last month when he was suspended following a poor run of form.

TENNIS

Schwartzman wins title

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov smashed three rackets on his way to losing the Istanbul Open final to Argentine Diego Schwartzman on Sunday. Second seed Dimitrov was one set ahead and 5-2 up in the second before Schwartzman, the world No. 87, fought back to win the his first ATP title 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-0. Dimitrov, the world No. 29, lost 11 of the last 12 games of the clay-court match, smashing two rackets along the way. Dimitrov, trailing 5-0 in the third set, then broke up another racket when level at 40-40 in the sixth game of the set, resulting in a match-ending penalty.

CYCLING

Quintana claims victory

Nairo Quintana won the Tour de Romandie on Sunday to once again stamp his credentials to become the first South American winner of the Tour de France later this year. The Colombian prevailed in the six-day race after a rain-soaked final stage won by Orica-GreenEdge’s Swiss rider Michael Albasini in Geneva, Switzerland. The Swiss race has often been a good pointer to finding the Tour de France champion, with three of the previous five winners having gone on to claim the yellow jersey in July. Movistar rider Quintana, second in the Tour de France last year, has demonstrated early-season form that suggests he could go one better this year, having already won the Tour of Catalonia in March. He led overall since winning Thursday’s second stage and the 26-year-old Quintana sealed victory by 19 seconds from France’s Thibaut Pinot on Sunday, finishing in the main peloton along with reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome.

CYCLING

Voeckler wins in England

Thomas Voeckler, the popular French veteran rider, secured overall victory in the Tour de Yorkshire on Sunday with a sprint finish triumph in the 198km final stage from Middlesbrough to Scarborough in England. Voeckler, the 36-year-old Direct Energie rider, demonstrated all his vast experience in the professional saddle when outfoxing and outsprinting nearest rival Nicolas Roche to take the title by a mere six seconds overall. Team Sky’s Roche had suffered a momentary lapse of concentration, which allowed Voeckler to launch his sprint from 300m out and build up just enough of an advantage over the Irishman to hold on for the decisive stage win at the line. The Tour, which has grown from the extraordinary success of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart in Yorkshire, again drew huge crowds with more than 2 million spectators estimated to have lined the route over the three days.

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