In brief: Green light for relieved Roche
Nicolas Roche got the result he was looking for yesterday when he was given the all clear to return to bike training three weeks after pulling out of the Tour de Romandie with a torn hamstring.
Fears that the injury would hamper his chances of being fit for this summer's Tour de France were allayed when the 25-year-old was given the green light to return to training after a second MRI scan in Monaco.
The AG2R rider has decided not to compete in the Dauphine Libere which starts on June 6 and will focus instead on the Tour of Switzerland, which takes place a week later.
"If it had been another few days off the bike I'm sure that I would have been out of the Tour but I know now that I can still be competitive," he told Irish Pro Cycling yesterday.
Elsewhere, American sprinter Tyler Farrar won his second stage of the Giro d'Italia yesterday, while Alexandre Vinokourov held onto the overall leader's pink jersey.
Farrar, who also won the second stage, covered a rolling 230km route from Avellino to Bitonto in five hours, 49 minutes, 14 seconds.
CONOR NILAND stormed back from a shaky start to make a winning debut in the first round of the French Open qualifying.
Niland struck a blow for Ireland when he put British No 2 Alex Bogdanovic to the sword on a 6-4, 6-4 scoreline after an hour and 27 minutes at Roland Garros yesterday.
But the Limerick man's Davis Cup team-mate Louk Sorensen bowed out on a 6-7 (7/9) 4-6 margin after putting up a gallant display against Argentina's No 10 seed Jose Acasuso for an hour and 31 minutes.
Niland will now take on Germany's unseeded Julian Reister in tomorrow's second-round clash, who yesterday shocked Italy's No 13 seed Filippo Volandri 6-3 5-7 6-1.
Mercedes have decided not to appeal after Michael Schumacher was stripped of sixth place in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix for illegally overtaking Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on the last corner of the race.
Schumacher passed Alonso just after the safety car had left the circuit and was given a drive-through penalty which added 20 seconds to his finishing time, demoting him from sixth to a place out of the points.
"Whilst we cannot be happy with the outcome, we are pleased that the FIA has recognised the reasons for our interpretation (of the law)," a Mercedes statement said, saying the punishment was harsh.