Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 17th 2014 Contents A51
Monday, March 17, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MELBOURNE---Formula One s sea-
son-opening race ended in rancour
and controversy yesterday as initial
second-place finisher Daniel Ric-
ciardo of Red Bull was disqualified
for a breach of fuel regulations, five
hours after Mercedes driver Nico
Rosberg took the checkered flag.
Ricciardo s exclusion from the
results tarnished what had been a
day of celebration for local fans, who
were jubilant that the Red Bull driver
had apparently become the first Aus-
tralian to finish on the podium at
his home race.
However just before midnight,
stewards ruled that Ricciardo s car
had "exceeded consistently the max-
imum allowed fuel flow" and that
the team refused an instruction from
the race s technical delegate Charlie
Whiting to change the fuel-flow
sensor before the race and a further
request during the race to reduce
the fuel flow.
Red Bull immediately announced
it would appeal the decision.
"Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel
flow metre have been prevalent all
weekend up and down the pit lane,"
a Red Bull statement said. "The team
and (engine supplier) Renault are
confident the fuel supplied to the
engine is in full compliance with the
The exclusion capped a day of
shocks at the Albert Park street cir-
Thought Rosberg s victory was
little surprise, given Mercedes had
been the dominant team in preseason
testing and across the race weekend
in Melbourne, few would have
expected pole sitter Lewis Hamilton
and defending four-time world
champion Sebastian Vettel to be
mere onlookers after half a dozen
Both Hamilton and Vettel suffered
engine failures, illustrating the dif-
ficulties all teams are having getting
performance and reliability out of
the sport s new V6 hybrid engines.
Ricciardo s disqualification meant
Kevin Magnussen was promoted to
second in his debut race, ahead of
his McLaren teammate Jenson But-
ton, giving the team a bright start
to the season and the lead in the
constructors championship after a
very disappointing 2013.
Rosberg started third on the grid
and was first to reach turn one, then
drove away from the field to even-
tually win by 24.5 seconds at the
Albert Park street circuit. The margin
of victory and the authority of the
performance showed why Mercedes
is considered a strong favorite to
finally win its first constructors title
NICE---Carlos Betancur became
the first Colombian rider to win
the Paris-Nice cycling race while
Arthur Vichot of France finished
first on the last stage yesterday.
Betancur safely protected his 14-
second lead over world champion
Rui Costa of Portugal by finishing
in the main pack on the final stage.
Costa crashed on the final straight.
"It s really a morale booster before
the classics," Betancur said. "The
rest of my program of the season
will climax with the Tour de France
in which I will have real ambitions."
Vichot outsprinted Jose Joaquin
Rojas Gil and Cyril Gautier on the
Promenade des Anglais to finish the
128-kilometer trek around Nice in
3 hours, 6 minutes, 56 seconds. The
stage win lifted Vichot into third
overall, 20 seconds behind Betan-
Betancur won two stages in the
week-long race. He finished fifth in
last year s Giro d Italia.
"It s a great honor to win such a
great race and to show that Colom-
bian cycling is back," Betancur said.
"I was very proud with my fifth
place in the Giro d Italia but this is
greater. It s more important to win
such a great race ahead of so many
great riders. It also shows what a
strong team AG2R is."
Team manager Vincent Lavenu
said he hadn t even planned on
entering Betancur in the race at first.
"Originally we had planned to
field Jean-Christophe Peraud on
Paris-Nice," AG2R manager Vincent
Lavenu said, "but when we realized
there was no time trial, we decided
to opt for Carlos, who would have
lost time in a timed effort. He is
only at the beginning of a great
career and has the talent to one day
win a Grand Tour."
Frank Schleck and Simon Spilak
broke away from the pack on the
ascent of Col d Eze but were caught
in the last kilometer.
Geraint Thomas and Edvald Boas-
son Hagen were among the riders
who did not start the stage. Thomas
was a contender for the race victory
but suffered a late crash in Saturday s
stage. Team Sky said Thomas
"should return" for the Milan-San
Remo race on March 23.
Tom Boonen, Tyler Farrar and
Thomas Voeckler were among the
riders to drop out early in the stage
that featured five climbs.
tador again showed his strength
in the mountains as he claimed
a second successive Tirreno-
Adriatico stage win to move into
the overall lead yesterday.
Contador, who won the gru-
eling fourth stage of the race on
Saturday, recorded a dominant
victory over another tough leg
from Amatrice to Guardiagrele,
finishing in 4 hours, 54 minutes
and 42 seconds.
The Spaniard made his move
on the penultimate climb and
then used a final burst of pace
to hold off Simon Geschke for
the win, beating the German by
six seconds. Geschke and Amer-
ican Benjamin King, who finished
third, had been in the lead group
for most of the day.
"Without a doubt this win will
remain one of the best of my
career and one that I ll always
remember," Contador said. "It
flashed by in a second but it ll
be a special memory.
"I knew it was risky to try and
attack so far out, but I really
wanted this victory and I like to
do things like that."
The 192-kilometer (119-mile)
leg ended in an ascent up the
Muro di Guardiagrele, which has
an average gradient of 22.2 per-
cent, with some points at 30 per-
"It s an incredible climb, I ve
never seen anything like that,"
Contador took over the lead
from Michal Kwiatkowski, who
dropped out of the top 10. Con-
tador is 2 minutes, 8 seconds
ahead of Movistar s Nairo Quin-
tana and 2:15 ahead of Tinkoff-
Saxo teammate Roman Kreuziger.
Monday s penultimate stage is
a 189km (117.4 mile) leg from
Bucchianico to Porto Sant El-
The race ends on Tuesday with
an individual time trial in San
Benedetto del Tronto.
Many riders are using the race
as a warmup for the Milan-San
Remo classic on March 23.
Langer maintained a two-stroke
lead Saturday in the Champions
Tour s Toshiba Classic, making four
birdies in a late five-hole stretch
for a 5-under 66.
Langer, the 2008 winner, had a
13-under 129 total at Newport Beach
Country Club. The 56-year-old Ger-
man won the season-opening event
in Hawaii in January for his 19th
victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Kenny Perry and Chien Soon Lu
had a share of second spot. Perry
made a 15-foot eagle putt on the
par-5 18th for a 65, and Lu shot
66.Fred Couples, Scott Dunlap, Este-
ban Toledo and Jeff Hart were 10
Langer opened with a birdie, then
made his first bogey of the tour-
nament on his next hole. He added
two more birdies on the front nine
but also had another bogey.
On the back nine, Langer birdied
Nos. 13, 14, 15 and 17. On No. 15,
he hit son Jason in the gallery on
his approach shot. Langer then hit
a flop shot over a bunker to 10 feet
and made the birdie putt.
"I was told it hit him," Langer
said. "But it was more like it
bounced a few times and rolled up
to him. He was OK."
Perry also had a strange incident.
On No. 9, he tried to cut the corner
on the dogleg right and caught a
palm tree about 37 yards from the
tee box. Fortunately, the ball fell to
the side of the tree. Perry hit a 4-
iron layup, followed by a 9-iron to
4 feet and made the putt for par.
"That hole s got me," Perry said.
"If I had to play a lot of holes like
it, I wouldn t play much."
Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson
made a 30-foot eagle putt on the
last hole for 63, tied for the best
round of the day. It was the first
time on the Champions Tour the
64-year-old Watson has bettered
his age on the tour. He was tied for
12th at 8 under.
Spain's Alberto Contador
celebrates on the podium after
winning the fifth stage of the
Tirreno Adriatico cycling race
from Amatrice to Guardiagrele,
Italy, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Rosberg wins, Ricciardo
disqualified in F1 opener
Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia left, and Mercedes driver Nico
Rosberg of Germany chat during a press conference after the Australian
Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Betancur defends lead to take Paris-Nice race
Winner of Paris-Nice cycling race Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez of
Colombia, center, celebrates with second placed Alberto Rui Costa of
Portugal, left, and third placed Arthur Vichot of France on the podium
after the final stage, in Nice, southern France, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Langer leads Toshiba Classic
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