Aussie Porte wins stage
Richie Porte of Australia won the fifth and penultimate stage of the Tour of the Basque Country on Friday, moving into second place behind Sky teammate Sergio Henao. Porte finished the 166km mountain leg featuring 10 summits between Eibar and Beasain in 4 hours, 40 minutes, 43 seconds. Last year’s winner, Samuel Sanchez, came in second at the head of a group, four seconds off the pace. Porte and Nairo Quintana are both six seconds behind Henao in the overall standings, with Alberto Contador another four seconds behind the Colombian leader.
Sehwag gets the chop
India’s selectors yesterday left out dashing batsman Virender Sehwag from a 30-man preliminary squad for the Champions Trophy in England in June. Seasoned off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and veteran seamer Zaheer Khan were also missing from the list, which has to be shortened to 15 players a month before the one-day tournament opens on June 5. Sehwag’s 219 against the West Indies in 2011 is the highest individual score in one-day internationals. However, he was dropped due to recent poor form. Off-spinner Parvez Rasool was included in the squad, making him the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to join the senior ranks.
Kewell joins Qatari club
Former Leeds and Liverpool winger Harry Kewell has signed a short-term deal with Qatar’s Al-Gharafa, ending a year-long spell without a club. Kewell left Melbourne Victory at the end of last year’s A-League season for family reasons. Al-Gharafa, which announced the deal on its Web site, said Kewell had been recruited only until the end of the current Qatar Stars League season which ends next month. Kewell had hoped to find a club in England over the past year to stay close to his family home in Cheshire.
Biarritz squad quarantined
Biarritz have put their entire first team squad in quarantine after an outbreak of the mumps, the French Rugby League (LNR) said on Friday. Flyhalf Julien Peyrelongue has caught the mumps while backrow Benoit Guyot is suspected of also being infected. The squad has been placed in quarantine until Thursday while their Top 14 clash with Perpignan has been pushed back from April 13 to April 14. “Following Biarritz’s statement that they have two cases of the mumps, the league’s medical commission has, as a precautionary measure, banned the club’s players and coaches from meeting up from April 5 to April 11, inclusive,” the LNR said in a statement. Mumps, a common viral disease in childhood, causes swelling of the glands and can be rather more serious when contracted in adulthood, with occasional complications.
Hoffenheim beat Fortuna
With a new coach in charge, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim seized a lifeline in their fight for Bundesliga survival with a 3-0 win over fellow-relegation candidates Fortuna Duesseldorf on Friday. The home side got off to a great start in Markus Gisdol’s first game when Roberto Firmino crashed his shot in off the underside of the crossbar in the 11th minute. The visitors were dealt a blow when Duesseldorf’s Andreas Lambertz headed Sejad Salihovic’s corner into his own net with 15 minutes remaining. Kevin Volland rounded off the scoring on a counterattack in injury time.