Sports

Team Sky fade to third in Worlds TTT

They came, they saw, but in the end Team Sky's galacticos had to settle for bronze in the men's team time trial in Bergen. Steered by Tour de France and Vuelta a España winner Chris Froome, the British team had led at the first checkpoint but were overhauled by winners Team Sunweb and BMC Racing.

Team Sky team arrived in Norway with a stacked squad that included Froome, former yellow jersey Geraint Thomas, former world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka, one-time road world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Vuetla revelation Gianni Moscon and the highly-rated Owain Doull. Yet in the end Sunweb's proficiency and BMC's experience shone through.

"We gave it everything out on the course today," Froome told Cyclingnews and De Telegraph at the line.

"It wasn't good enough for the first place but we've got to be happy with that. It's a very tough circuit and maybe we could have done things differently in hindsight but we've got to be happy with third place."

While several teams, including BMC and fellow pre-race favourites QuickStep Floors, organised training camps ahead of the race and arrived several days in advance, Team Sky's approach was somewhat different. They selected riders from the Tour of Britain and the Vuelta but spent less time riding reconnaissance than several of their rivals.

Froome and company started in impressive fashion, hitting the first checkpoint in the fastest time, with Quick-Step second, BMC third and Sunweb a distant fourth but according to Froome the early pace may have come back to punish Sky.

"We probably started a little bit fast, so maybe we'd start a little bit more controlled," Froome said when asked if he and his team would have tackled the course differently after the experience.

"I think we went out a bit fast and then paid the price towards the end. Maybe we could have put more emphasis on getting more guys over that climb with 11km to go. It seems like there were big time gaps made and lost against the teams that got over there with six guys."

On the major climb of the race – a 1.4-kilometre slog with pitches of nine per cent – Team Sky showed signs of frailty. They weren't the only team to do so, of course, but by then Doull had peeled off and Thomas was jettisoned with Froome seemingly making the call to push on with four riders left.

"Initially the plan was to try and get over the climb with Geraint but towards the top of the climb he said 'no guys, it's enough' and signalled to us to keep going," Froome added.

"For me personally it's not something I've really focused on. I'm just here on the back of the Tour and the Vuelta. I still feel good and the legs feel good. I was happy to be part of the team and bring something to the team but as you said, a lot of teams have focused for this and pulled riders from Grand Tours to be ready for this. We just put the best squad we could together."

Froome's next and final outing of these World Championships will come on Wednesday when he looks to win the individual time trial.

 

Contador: It was the right time to retire

Although he appeared in the race just three times during his career, Alberto Contador seems to hold the Giro in special regard. It was the Giro, after all, that provided him with a lifeline in May 2008, when his Astana team was barred by the organisers of the Tour de France.

Contador was welcomed back warmly in 2011, despite the fact that he was in the process of appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport – ultimately unsuccessfully – against his positive test for Clenbuterol the previous year. In 2015, Contador made his third and final appearance, claiming what he maintained to be his third win, though only two remain in the record books.

No matter, Contador hit all the required notes when he appeared on stage at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem on Monday to promote the Israeli Grande Partenza of the 2018 Giro d'Italia. He was applauded by local attendees at the presentation when he downplayed the idea that bringing the Giro to Israel constituted a security risk.

"In my opinion, I don't think it's a problem to be here," Contador said. "I was in Israel in 2012 for close to two weeks on a training camp and the support was incredible. Now the situation of the world is a little crazy but it's not a question for just one country or another, it's all the world. I'm sure all the riders will be happy to come here and won't think of these things."

RCS Sport will have been equally content with Contador's comments to reporters after the presentation, when he suggested that Chris Froome ought to line out in next year's Giro in order to complete the rare feat of holding all three Grand Tour titles at once. Contador pointed in particular to the strength of Froome's supporting cast at Team Sky.

"If I were Froome, I'd ride this Giro, but clearly the decision is up to him," Contador said. "He can definitely do it. He's used up a lot of energy in the last few months both physically and mentally, but he has a great team around him, and that allows him to make the difference in the time trials or in the last kilometre of mountain stages. So if I were in his place, I'd aim for the Giro, especially with this spectacular and difficult start."

Barely a week on from his hanging up his wheels, it is perhaps too early to wonder whether Contador has any regrets about his decision. He is, after all, still only trying the mantle of ex-professional cyclist for size, but he evinced no doubts in Jerusalem on Monday, not least because he signed off on his turbulent career with a valedictory win atop the Angliru on the final weekend of the Vuelta a España.

"I don't feel nostalgia, I'm just happy for the way I finished my career by winning on the Angliru. It was the right time to leave," Contador said. "I decided at the Tour when I crashed. I've always given everything and I think it was the best thing to leave while I was still at a high level. At the Vuelta, every day was like a fiesta for me. The last month of my career was incredible, and I couldn't have asked for better."

Contador explained that his time in retirement will be divided between supporting his Fundacion Contador development squad – which will step up to Continental level after taking over the running of Trek-Segafredo's development team – and acting as an ambassador to promote stroke awareness.

"Maybe people don't know the symptoms and it is very important to know to catch this disease in time," said Contador, who suffered a stroke at the Tour of Asturias in 2004.

"I will continue to ride my bike, but I will also have other commitments and a great part of my time will be dedicated to the Fundacion Contador, where we have several cycling teams, including this year a new Continental one." 

 

Cyclist Arthus Bucay nabs PH's first medal in ASEAN Paragames 2017

FIRST MEDAL. Bucay bags Philippines' first medal in the ASEAN Para Games 2017. Photo from Faceboook 

MANILA, Philippines – Veteran cyclist Arthus Bucay opens Philippines' 9th ASEAN Para Games campaign with a silver medal on Sunday, September 17 in Nilai, Malaysia. 

The 37-year old track cyclist placed second to Malaysia's Zuhairie Ahmad Tarmizi in the men’s kilometer C5 cycling track event with a time of 1:15.432. 

 

Bucay participated in the 2012 London Paralympics and the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, where he bagged a bronze medal in the men's individual 81 kilometer C4-5 road race. – Rappler.com

Why Meralco traded for RDO, according to coach Norman Black

Sports5 photo
Currently a contender for the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup crown, the Meralco Bolts made a bold move on Monday after trading for veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo in a three-team deal involving sister team TNT and Phoenix.

The former Gilas Pilipinas stalwart was acquired by the Bolts from the Fuel Masters who earlier nabbed De Ocampo from TNT in exchange for Norbert Torres and a 2017 first round pick.

The Fuel Masters then shipped the veteran stretch four to the Bolts for center Justin Chua and their 2017 first round pick.

Phoenix also sent Chua to TNT in exchange for a 2019 second round pick.

Getting a player like De Ocampo is a huge boost to the Bolts, according to coach Norman Black.

“We’re doing well this conference even without Ranidel. What more if we will have him?” said Black who once coached TNT.

“He played for me before, so I know what he can bring to the table. More than his experience and his skill set, we felt that we need more floor spacers so that any time Allen Durham gets double teamed, we have people who can shoot from the perimeter and that’s one of the things Ranidel can provide for us.”

De Ocampo will also help Meralco when it plays without an import. In the past two Philippine Cups, the Bolts finished at the bottom of the standings.

“We didn’t do well in the last two all-Filipino tournaments and we felt that we need to strengthen our frontline to improve our chances in the all-Filipino,” Black said.

“Looking at the coming rookie draft, we’re picking No.7 if the draft is to be held this time, and we felt there’s nobody better than Ranidel at the no.7 pick.”

Henry Walker on Ginebra: ‘They got no weaknesses’

PBA Media Bureau
Blackwater import Henry Walker is now in his third PBA stint, and he was impressed by the improvement of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.

The former NBA veteran praised LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar for being the guys behind the Gin Kings’ rise as a league contender.

“You can see the level in experience. They’ve been in that situation many times. Looking at LA (Tenorio) he’s just ice cold. It doesn’t matter what he does, but you’ve got to be ready for him in those clutch moments. They’ve got a guy like that, doing the right plays, then the team need not to worry,” Walker told InterAksyon.

“I was surprised with Japeth. He’s gotten a whole lot better since my first year. If you ask me, this group of guys (Ginebra) is one of the better teams in the league. Period. They got no weaknesses.”

Aguilar swatted away a looper by Walker in a play that sparked a Ginebra rally against Walker’s Blackwater last Friday.

Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone heaped praise on Aguilar’s big play.

“That’s what you kinda look for. Those game-changing shots or plays, that was one of them,” Cone said. “When Japeth made that block on Walker, I thought that was the game-changing play out there. He had a free lane to the basket then Japeth came from nowhere and blocked that shot. That kinda lifted us up. We got into a transition scored.”

UAAP greats from all sports honored as Season 80 unfurls

The UAAP Season 80 officially opens at Mall of Asia Arena Saturday, September 9. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

The UAAP recognized its glorious past as it honored former athletes who personified the league’s theme for its 80th Season: “Go For Great.”

The parade featuring the member schools’ legends across all sports was the highlight of the nostalgic opening ceremony Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The league relived its rich history by bringing back its celebrated stars from different generations.

 

Host Far Eastern University drew the loudest cheers when the likes of volleyball standout Rachel Daquis and basketball hotshot Terrence Romeo walked down memory lane along with the school’s other greats.

“What I really miss about the UAAP is the crowd,” said Romeo in Filipino.

Ateneo wasn’t to be outdone with its star-studded volleyball tandem of Alyssa Valdez and Marck Espejo among its greats.

One of University of the East’s biggest stars Robert Jaworski wasn’t able to attend but part of its contingent was Tisha Dominguez-Abundo, who led the school to a volleyball title in the late 60s.

“I’m still hoping for our volleyball team to wake up from its long slumber,” said Abundo.

Olympian Yan Lariba of La Salle was represented by his mother Imelda during the ceremony. Former Green Archer Renren Ritualo, the deadliest marksman during his time, was also present.

Legendary basketball coach Aric del Rosario bannered University of Santo Tomas. Del Rosario built the UST dynasty that reigned from 1993 to 1996.

Del Rosario was joined by the likes of cagers Cyrus Baguio, one of the most exciting players to watch during his collegiate career, and Dylan Ababou, who was a vital part of the Tigers’ team that ended the school’s 10-year title drought in 2006.

 

National University had Danny Ildefonso, who went on to win a couple of PBA MVP awards and eight titles in the pros, two-time UAAP MVP Ray Parks and rising tennis star Tin Patromonio, who recently won silver in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.

“It feels good as an athlete that your hard work and passion are recognized,” said Parks.

University of the Philippines flaunted senator Pia Cayetano, who was the Lady Maroons’ former captain who helped bring a volleyball title to the school in the early 80s. The Maroons also had Ronnie Magsanoc, who, along with Benjie Paras, was one of the leaders of UP’s championship run in 1986.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be part of the selected few. It’s also nice to meet former greats whom you followed before but just formally met now,” said Magsanoc.

Adamson’s Ewon Arayi, who made her mark as a standout in women’s basketball, was also part of the gathering of stars.

 

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