Sun, Jun 21, 2015 - Page 18


Violinist’s ban overturned

Pop violinist Vanessa Mae has had a four-year ban overturned and been cleared of fixing Alpine skiing races, but she was still ineligible to compete at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said on Friday. The CAS said that there was “insufficient evidence” to back last year’s suspension imposed by the International Ski Federation (FIS) for manipulating giant slalom races in Slovenia, which allowed her to qualify for the Sochi Games at the last minute. However, the CAS said in a statement she “was ineligible to compete” because the qualifying events in Slovenia were “so defective.” Mae, a British citizen, competed for Thailand at the Games in Russia in February last year under her father’s surname of Vanakorn, coming a distant last of the 67 finishers in the giant slalom. “In its decision, the CAS Panel accepted the position of the FIS that a number of irregularities had occurred in the organization and management of the four races in question,” the CAS said in a statement. “[The panel] could not find, to its comfortable satisfaction, evidence of any manipulation by Vanessa Vanakorn herself that justified the guilty finding and the imposition of a four-year ban.” Mae is now eligible to qualify for the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.


Kristoff outsprints Sagan

Alexander Kristoff handed Peter Sagan a rare sprint defeat at the Tour de Suisse on Friday to win the seventh stage, while Thibaut Pinot’s overall lead was cut again. Norway’s Kristoff dominated the final stages of the 165km route from Biel to Duedingen and denied Sagan a record-setting 12th career stage win in the race. Kristoff clocked 3 hours, 38 minutes, 7 seconds to add another victory to his season, which includes the Tour of Flanders one-day classic. Pinot was caught up in a split of the leading pack near the end and gave up five seconds to Geraint Thomas of Britain, who is second overall. Pinot leads by 37 seconds, with the nine-day race likely to be decided in today’s time-trial stage. Katusha rider Simon Spilak was third overall, 50 seconds behind Pinot, while Domenico Pozzovivo of AG2R La Mondiale (55 seconds) was fourth and Astana rider Miguel Angel Lopez (1 minute, 7 seconds) was fifth.


Motorhome plan scuppered

Team Sky’s plan to put Chris Froome up in a private motorhome for the Tour de France was scuppered on Friday when cycling’s governing body ruled that riders must stay in official hotels during all road stage races. The team wanted the 2013 champion to stay in a motorhome during next month’s race to avoid having to adapt to different hotel conditions on a daily basis. However, the International Cycling Union (UCI) would not sanction the proposal. “In all road stage races on the international calendar the organizers must cover the subsistence expenses of the teams from the night before the start to the final day,” the UCI’s management committee said in a statement. “Riders must stay in the hotels provided by the organizer throughout the entire duration of the race. The decision was made in order to reaffirm absolute fairness between all riders.” Sky tried out the motorhome setup with Richie Porte in last month’s Giro d’Italia. Team principal Dave Brailsford said some hotels provided this year were “not great” and says that being able to sleep in familiar surroundings would help to improve the daily recovery process as “sport science is massive on sleep at the moment.” The grueling three-week Tour is to start on July 4 and run through July 26.