Meersman claims stage
Belgian Gianni Meersman won the third stage of the Tour of Romandie on Friday following a 181km ride around Payerne, Switzerland. The Omega Pharma rider beat Italian Francesco Gavazzi and Switzerland’s Michael Albasini in a sprint finish. It was Meersman’s second stage win in the tour after his success in Wednesday’s first stage, but Britain’s Chris Froome still held the overall lead. However, Meersman moved up to third in the standings thanks to time bonuses collected on the stage, and trailed the Team Sky rider by just nine seconds.
Bremen suspend duo
Werder Bremen have suspended both Austrian bad-boy striker Marko Arnautovic and Dutch forward Eljero Elia until further notice after the former was cautioned by police for speeding. At 3am on Friday, Arnautovic’s sports car was pulled over by police on an autobahn near Bremen having been travelling at high speed. Elijah, who was driving a separate car, pulled over and got involved before a total of seven people then started arguing aggressively with the police, who called for reinforcements. Arnautovic will have to pay a hefty fine and faces at least a one-month ban, police said. The Austrian has a long list of indiscretions since joining Bremen in 2010 from Inter, having been involved in a nightclub brawl and then in a training ground scuffle. Last year he insulted a police officer in his home city Vienna by saying: “I earn so much, I can buy your life.”
Simon reaches semis
Three-time champion Gilles Simon of France reached the semi-finals of the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy on Friday, while top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic was eliminated. The second-seeded Simon extended his unbeaten streak at the clay-court tournament to 16 matches by ousting Daniel Brands of Germany 6-1, 7-5. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain beat the 10th-ranked Tipsarevic 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. The Frenchman beat Fabio Fognini of Italy in last year’s final, and also won titles here in 2007 and 2008. Simon’s victory set up a clash against Czech Lukas Rosol, who downed eighth-seeded Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-1. In the other semi-final, Garcia-Lopez was due to meet fifth-seed Florian Mayer, who ousted Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).
Kaneria loses ban appeal
Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria failed in his appeal to overturn his lifetime ban on Friday. Kaneria was banned last year for his role in a spot-fixing plot after he was found guilty of “cajoling and pressurising” former Essex teammate Mervyn Westfield into accepting cash in return for trying to concede a set number of runs in an over during a match in 2009. Kaneria has now launched a further appeal. Westfield served two months in prison last year after admitting spot-fixing and was banned from professional cricket for five years. He was summoned to appear as a witness at the appeal after the ECB obtained a witness summons order to force Westfield to attend. During his criminal trial last year, Westfield named Kaneria as the figure who induced him into accepting ￡6,000 (US$9,300) to under-perform in a match in 2009. That evidence was key to the ECB’s case in imposing their life ban on the Pakistani but, feeling he was harshly treated by the governing body in terms of his own ban, Westfield refused to cooperate further. With Kaneria’s legal team arguing Westfield’s original evidence was inadmissible at the appeal, the ECB took the last resort of an order to compel Westfield.