Gesink pulls out of Giro
Dutch rider Robert Gesink, who began the Giro d’Italia hoping for a podium finish, dropped out of the race on Friday after consulting doctors, his Blanco Pro Cycling announced. Blanco said Gesink, a climbing specialist, had felt unwell since completing a tough 20.6km uphill time trial on Thursday, which had left him in 12th place overall, more than 10 minutes behind leader Vincenzo Nibali. “Robert Gesink didn’t feel well during and after the time trial on Thursday. After consulting with the team’s medical staff, he has pulled out,” the Dutch team said. The news would have come as a blow to the team, who had been counting on stage wins and a top finish for Gesink to help boost their bid to attract a major sponsor. Currently, Blanco has no major sponsor. The race ends today in Brescia, but is set for a chaotic finish. Friday’s 19th stage was canceled due to freezing temperatures in the Dolomites and major changes also had to be made to yesterday’s 20th stage for the same reason.
Allen fined for flopping
Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen has been fined US$5,000 for violating the NBA’s rule against flopping, the league said on Friday. The infraction occurred late in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, when Allen was fouled by San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili while trying to complete a fast-break layup. Ginobili was whistled for a flagrant foul on the play, in which Allen fell hard, then clutched his head, although replays showed he had not hit his head. The play helped the Grizzlies send the game into overtime, but San Antonio went on to win 93-89 and take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Gibraltar admitted to UEFA
Gibraltar became the smallest European soccer nation on Friday after the British colony’s lengthy push to join UEFA was completed by gaining full membership. The campaign for recognition has long been resisted by Spain, which wanted to stop the tiny territory on its southern tip from joining UEFA and being able to play in its competitions. Gibraltar has been a frequent source of tension between Britain and Spain, which claims sovereignty over the territory that was ceded to Britain in 1713. The path to becoming UEFA’s 54th member, which started in 1999, became clearer after a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling in Gibraltar’s favor in 2006. “This is a momentous occasion for football in Gibraltar,” Gibraltar Football Association president Gareth Latin said. “UEFA membership means we can begin the next chapter of Gibraltarian football.” Gibraltar can now enter into the qualifying competition for Euro 2016. UEFA president Michel Platini said Spain would be kept apart in qualifying in a bid to avoid inflaming political tensions, as happens with Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Elie Baup extends contract
Olympique de Marseille coach Elie Baup has reached an agreement with the club to extend his contract for an extra year through to the end of the 2014-2015 season, the Ligue 1 side announced on Friday on its Web site. “It’s on track to be done, but there aren’t any questions, we’ll continue for an additional year,” Baup told a press conference. The 58-year-old took over at the Stade Velodrome at the start of this season initially on a two-year contract following the appointment of former Marseille coach Didier Deschamps as France national coach. Baup subsequently steered Marseille to second place in his first season in charge.