Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 16th 2015 Contents A56
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 16, 2015
Sky protects Froome's Tour lead
CAUTERETS---Tour de France
leader Chris Froome understands
those who harbor doubts about his
dominant performances in a sport
long marred by doping. Maybe, he
says, it s time to bring in an inde-
pendent specialist to test his body
and help prove that he s riding
The 30-year-old Briton cruised
through a second day in the Pyre-
nees mountains yesterday, finishing
more than five minutes behind Stage
11 winner Rafal Majka of Poland but
keeping his main rivals in check.
The bumpy, grueling ride under
a hot sun came a day after Froome
blew away the pack, prompting new
suspicions about doping. Ironically,
it came as Lance Armstrong---who
was stripped of seven consecutive
Tour titles---was to return to French
roads nearby, even though he s per-
sona non grata at the Tour de France.
Armstrong was to take part in
charity rides today and tomorrow
to raise money to fight leukemia,
taking the same route that Tour rid-
ers will cover a day later.
Froome brushed off Armstrong s
visit as a "non-event", noting that
"he s not on the start line with us."
However, Armstrong s presence
is a reminder that any Tour leader
can expect to come under at least
some suspicion. To deal with that,
Froome is willing to take testing
"I m open-minded to potentially
doing some physiological testing at
some point after the Tour, or at
whatever point suits," the Briton
said. "Obviously, there would be
some interesting things that come
out of it, and maybe as a team we
might even learn something from
it."Speaking to French TV, Froome
said he does "sympathise" with peo-
ple who have their doubts about
him, adding: "It s a normal question
to ask" given the sport s history. But
he emphasised his hard work---
sometimes from 6 am to 10 pm---
and decried a "lack of respect"
shown by some.
Arriving in France yesterday, Arm-
strong acknowledged to British
broadcaster Sky News that he bore
some responsibility for the spotlight
now being trained on the Briton.
"I know what it s like for a guy
like Chris to be in the middle of a
Tour to deal with the constant ques-
tions, which of course he is. And to
be fair and to be honest to him, a
lot of that is my fault," Armstrong
However, Froome and his team
are ready to take on the skeptics.
"Best moment of my day was
stopping to have a chat to a guy
calling me a doper on the way way
back to the bus," tweeted Sky s
Richie Porte, a key mountain guide
for Froome in the race, after
Wednesday s stage. The Australian
went on to use an expletive sug-
gesting that he had scared off the
The day s glory meanwhile went
to Majka, a 25-year-old Pole whose
solo breakaway left behind a small
group of rivals. The victory was the
first for his strong Tinkoff Saxo Bank
team and offered some redemption
for the squad whose leader, two-
time Tour winner Alberto Contador,
has been struggling in this year s
Majka presented little threat to
Froome. He had begun the 188-kilo-
metre (117-mile) stage from Pau to
Cauterets more than 44 1/2 minutes
Majka, who last year won the
polka dot jersey awarded to the race s
best climber, burst out of a break-
away bunch on the way up the Tour-
malet pass---the highest and most
frequently visited Tour peak in the
Pyrenees---and was the first over it.
The results had little impact on
the overall standings. Froome leads
Tejay van Garderen of the United
States, who is second, by two min-
utes, 52 seconds while Nairo Quin-
tana of Colombia is third, 3:09 back.
Contador is sixth, 4:04 off the
Briton s pace.
Defending Tour champion Vin-
cenzo Nibali trailed more than six
minutes behind Majka, again losing
time to Froome.
Many seasoned race observers say
it will take nearly a miracle for
Froome s main rivals to topple him
before the race ends on Paris
Champs-Elysees on July 26.
Appropriately enough, Stage 11
took the pack into the Roman
Catholic shrine town of Lourdes,
made famous because of a peasant
girl s visions of the Virgin Mary over
150 years ago.
Livestock on the sun-baked, grassy
mountainsides offered their own
hazards for the speeding racers.
France s Warren Barguil had to gin-
gerly veer to the edge of the road on
the fast downhill route from the
Tourmalet as a pair of cows mean-
dered across the road.
Today s finale in the Pyrenees
offers more punishment, with a 195-
kilometre (121-mile) trek from Lan-
nemezan to the Plateau de Beille ski
resort, featuring another uphill finish.
...as Majka wins Stage 11
Stage winner Poland's Rafal Majka celebrates on the podium after the eleventh stage of the Tour de France cycling
race over 188 kilometres (116.8 miles) with start in Pau and finish in Cauterets, France, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Williams sailed through her open-
ing match at the Swedish Open
with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Belgian
qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure in
the first round yesterday.
Four days after winning her sixth
Wimbledon title, Williams ousted
Bonaventure from the clay-court
tournament in 53 minutes despite a
first-serve percentage of 64.
Williams, the 2013 Bastad cham-
pion, next faces Czech player Klara
Koukalova, who beat the American
on clay six years ago.
Seventh-seeded Johanna Larsson
of Sweden advanced to the second
round after beating Richel
Hogenkamp of the Netherlands 6-
1, 6-3 and will play Anna-Lena
Friedsam of Germany.
In the first three second round
matches, Lara Arruabarrena of Spain
rallied to upset second-seeded
Samantha Stosur of Australia 7-6
(5), 6-0, after being 2-4 down in
the first set.
Fourth-seeded Mona Barthel and
Jana Cepelova joined Arruabarrena
in the quarterfinals.
Germany s Barthel crushed Mary-
na Zanevska 6-0, 6-0 while Slova-
kia s Cepelova came from a set down
to beat Olga Govortsova 4-6, 6-3,
Serena Williams in easy
win over Bonaventure
in Swedish Open
Sock, Ram advance to
quarters on Newport's grass
Sock and Rajeev Ram advanced
to the quarterfinals of the Hall
of Fame Tennis Championships
Fourth-seeded Sock rallied past
Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 3-6, 7-
6 (4), 6-4. Ram defeated Yuichi
Sugita of Japan 6-4, 6-3, a day
after upsetting top-seeded John
The 31-year-old Ram returned
the various slices, lobs and other
change-of-pace shots offered by
Sugita. The 161st-ranked Ram last
won the Newport title in 2009.
The 22-year-old Sock, ranked
39th, needed two hours to
advance in humid conditions on
"You see a lot of upsets here
every year, it s part of the game,"
said Sock, who faced seven break
points, saving four in the third
set. "With the weather, I haven t
been in much humidity and
heat---that took some adjusting
to."Ram is one of ten Americans
in the tournament---five seeded---
and he s making a solid run.
"I ve done this for long enough,
it s a completely different match,
a different day," Ram said of the
short turnaround. "A completely
different opponent is really more
of an issue. I had to play with a
little bit of a different strategy, a
little bit of a different outlook on
it, but I played pretty well."
In other action, fifth-seeded
Adrian Mannarino of France beat
Tommy Haas of Germany 6-7 (5),
7-6 (1), 6-4 in a match suspended
by rain Tuesday.
Seventh-seeded Steve Johnson
of the US was ousted by Tatsuma
Ito of Japan 6-4, 6-4; and Aus-
tralia s John-Patrick Smith beat
18-year old American Jared Don-
aldson 6-3, 6-1.
Ram broke serve in the seventh
game of the opening set to take
control. He closed the set with a
With fans still entering the
grounds next to the International
Tennis Hall of Fame, Ram took
charge, going up 3-1 in the second
set.Sugita lost the first three points
on serve in the final game of the
match before returning a back-
hand long, ending it in 67 min-
Ram edged Isner 10-8 in a
third-set tiebreaker. On Saturday,
former world No 1 and two-time
major champion Amelie Maures-
mo of France heads the 2015 class
into the International Tennis Hall
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