Voeckler seals stage win
Thomas Voeckler won the sixth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in France on Friday and Chris Froome kept the race leader’s yellow jersey with two stages remaining. Voeckler attacked about 300m from the end and held off three other riders in a sprint finish to secure his first stage win of the season and the first of his career at the Dauphine. The 33-year-old Frenchman clocked a time of three hours, 24 minutes, 13 seconds on the 143km trek from La Lechere to Grenoble, with Spaniard Jose Lopez finishing second ahead of Belgium’s Kevin Seeldrayers and Russia’s Egor Silin. The top three in the overall standings remained unchanged with Froome still 52 seconds ahead of Sky teammate Richie Porte and 54 seconds clear of Rohan Dennis, both of Australia.
Lions lose another prop
The British and Irish Lions lost a second prop in as many days when Welsh forward Gethin Jenkins was sent home from the tour of Australia because of a calf problem yesterday. Jenkins, who was on his third Lions tour, had missed the first two matches because of the injury but was named in the side to face the Queensland Reds at Lang Park yesterday. The 32-year-old was withdrawn from the team on Friday when the calf tightened up and yesterday was sent home with fellow prop Cian Healy, who suffered ligament damage in Wednesday’s 69-17 victory over the Western Force. England prop Alex Corbisiero arrived from England’s tour of South America yesterday to link up with the Lions squad as cover and will be joined by Ryan Grant, who was on tour with Scotland in South Africa. “It was a long journey but I’m not complaining — I would do it again just to be here,” Corbisiero said. “You never like to come in for anyone who is injured, and I feel for Cian and Gethin, but I just feel so privileged to be given this opportunity.”
Heavyweights line up in US
World No. 1 Tiger Woods, second-ranked Rory McIlroy and reigning Masters champion Adam Scott will play alongside each other in the first two rounds at next week’s US Open. The US Golf Association announced in a Twitter posting on Friday that Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus, will join Scott and McIlroy off the first tee on Thursday at 1:14pm. Scott, who became the first Australian to win a green jacket when he captured the title in April at the Augusta National in Georgia, and McIlroy, the 2011 US Open and last year’s PGA Championship winner, join Woods off the 10th tee on Friday at 7:44am for round two.
Novikov fails drugs test
Russian rider Nikita Novikov has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned steroid in an out-of-competition test, cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, announced on Friday. Novikov, who is a former Tour of Slovakia winner and has been with the Dutch team Vacansoleil since last year, tested positive on May 17. The UCI confirmed that traces of banned steroids were found in the 23-year-old’s urine sample. “As a team you try to give your riders a safe environment with good coaching and staff and that makes it very disappointing when a rider does something wrong, like it appears is the case now,” Vacansoleil general manager Daan Luijkx was quoted as saying by the Web site Velonation. “When I talked to the rider last night, after the UCI informed us, he said he had no idea how the substance got in his body.”
Wales defeat Japan
Wales’ Harry Robinson scored a try midway through the second half yesterday as an inexperienced Welsh side rallied to beat Japan 22-18. Michael Broadhurst scored a try in the 37th minute as Japan took an 11-6 lead to halftime, but Dan Biggar erased the deficit with two penalty-kicks before Robinson’s try, converted by Bigger, made it 19-11. Japan closed the gap to 19-18 on a late try by Yoshikazu Fujita, but a Rhys Patchell penalty in the final minute sealed the win for the visitors. Japan lost their eighth straight match to Wales. The two teams are to meet again in Tokyo on Saturday. Wales, playing without 15 British Lions and almost as many others injured or rested, fielded a side with only 51 starting caps between them.
Royals face IPL suspension
Former Indian Premier League (IPL) champions the Rajasthan Royals faced suspension from the cash-rich tournament on Friday after their co-owner admitted to betting on the Twenty20 matches. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called an emergency meeting of its working committee in New Delhi tomorrow to discuss the fate of the team which is captained by Rahul Dravid. “We have taken cognisance of the Raj Kundra issue. We are going to discuss it in our meeting on June 10 and if necessary, stringent measures will be taken,” BCCI interim head Jagmohan Dalmiya said late on Thursday. Raj Kundra, co-owner of the Royals alongside his Bollywood actress and former Big Brother contestant wife Shilpa Shetty, has admitted to illegal gambling on the competition, according to police. He has since been ordered to hand over his passport.
League votes for loan rules
English Football League clubs voted unanimously on Friday to bring rules for international loans into line with domestic arrangements, closing a loophole that had allowed Watford to bring in 10 players from Italian side Udinese. Foreign loan deals were previously not subject to Football League rules which restrict match-day squads to five domestic loan players, with a maximum of four from any one club. The 72 English Football League clubs, the three professional divisions outside the Premier League, took the vote at their annual general meeting in Portugal. Championship (second tier) Watford, who missed out on promotion to the Premier League after losing last month’s playoff final to Crystal Palace, share the same owners as Udinese and Spanish club Granada. Watford’s loan players included the Championship player of the season, Udinese’s Czech striker Matej Vydra.
Spectators hurt in crash
Eleven spectators were taken to hospital, one of them seriously injured, after a crash on the opening lap of the Isle of Man Senior TT motorcycle race on Friday, organizers said. ACU Events said in a statement that the injuries ranged “from slight to serious. None are believed to be life threatening at this time.” The BBC reported that British rider Jonathan Howarth crashed on the fast Bray Hill descent — a popular viewing point near the start — soon after setting off. He was unhurt, but witnesses reported the bike and debris flying into the crowd. The race was halted immediately, with a re-start scheduled. The TT races are generally regarded as the most dangerous in motorcycling, with 240 rider fatalities since 1907. The latest was 43-year-old Japanese Yoshinari Matsushita, who was killed in practice last week. He was the 21st to die at the circuit since 2000.