Degenkolb pulls out of Giro
Germany’s John Degenkolb who sprinted to victory on stage five of the Giro d’Italia pulled out of the race during Monday’s rest day, his Argos team announced. “Before the start, I said that I wanted to finish a race and in particular the Giro, but not at any price. I feel it will be difficult for me to recover,” said the 24-year-old, who was lying in 129th position and 1 hour, 9 minutes and 4 seconds behind Italian race leader Vincenzo Nibali, when he dropped out. “The first week of the Giro was very rigorous and we also had to deal with very difficult weather conditions. It has had an impact on my condition and I simply can’t adapt,” added the speedster who won five stages on last year’s Tour of Spain and claimed fourth spot at the world championships. “I know that I am getting stronger every year and I must put my pride to one side and do what is best for my body. We decided as a team that I will go home, firstly to recover and then to work on our next objectives.” Degenkolb is now hoping to be fit to take part in his first Tour de France, that runs from June 29 to July 21.
Petersen replaces Smith
Alviro Petersen has replaced fellow opening batsman Graeme Smith in South Africa’s squad for next month’s Champions Trophy. Head selector Andrew Hudson says Petersen is “the obvious choice” to come in for former limited-overs captain Smith, who was ruled out of the ODI tournament to have surgery on his injured left ankle. Petersen is currently playing for Somerset in English county cricket and is familiar with local conditions ahead of the Champions Trophy in England and Wales. Petersen is Smith’s regular opening partner in Tests for the Proteas, but has only played 17 one-day internationals, the last of which was in January last year.
Longley joins Boomers staff
Luc Longley has become a permanent member of the Australian Boomers coaching staff, working as an assistant to Andrej Lemanis. Longley, a member of three consecutive championship teams with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, was the first Australian to play in the NBA. He also competed at the Olympics for Australia and was a coaching consultant with the national team for last year’s London Olympics. In a Basketball Australia statement yesterday, Longley said the Olympics “was a chance for me to tip my toe in the water and I enjoyed it and the players responded to me pretty well.” Longley said he’d been away from basketball for a while “but I got to the stage where I really missed it and wanted to get back involved, and Andrej has given me that opportunity.”
Mom to the rescue
Nicolas Colsaerts had to send out an SOS to his mother on Monday after his clubs and luggage went astray as he made his way to Bulgaria to defend his World Match-Play title. Colsaerts found himself caught up in a strike at Brussels Airport when he checked in for his flight to Varna for the first-ever major golf tournament staged in Bulgaria. The Belgian was due to arrive in Bulgaria late on Monday, but had to arrange for his mother to travel from Paris yesterday with a spare set of clubs and clothing for her son. Colsaerts heads a field of 24 players from 15 countries competing in the 3 million euros (US$3.9 million) event being played on the stunning Thracian Cliffs course laid out along the Black Sea shoreline at Kavarna 60km north of Bulgaria’s third-largest city, Varna.