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'Deals of offer' to finger Lance Rusty Blake beaten Piri back for Blacks

CYCLING: Lance Armstrong's attorneys say the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is offering cyclists a "sweetheart deal" if they testify or provide evidence that the seven-time Tour de France winner cheated by doping.

If those riders have been caught doping, the deal from USADA could result in a reduced ban from competition and other incentives, attorney Tim Herman said yesterday. USADA spokeswoman Erin Hannan said the agency could not comment in detail about an investigation.

"USADA is promising riders a sweetheart deal if they can produce anything harmful on Armstrong," Herman said. "A rider who has doped, they tell them, 'If you can finger Armstrong, we'll get out the eraser ... and everything is cool."'

Herman said he could not disclose which rider or riders have been offered a deal.

Rusty Blake beaten

Tennis: Qualifier Ryan Sweeting took advantage of some shoddy serving by James Blake to advance to the second round of the Washington Classic with a 3-6 6-3 6-4 win yesterday.

Blake, sidelined for two months earlier this year with a knee injury, landed only 48pc of his first serves and the former champion, 30, said he had trouble shaking off the rust.

"It was pretty evident tonight I was not doing the things you need to do to win matches," said Blake, whose ranking has slipped from a high of four to 105. "What I need is to play more matches and get that confidence back."

Meanwhile, former world No1 Dinara Safina ended a six match losing streak by beating Alona Bondarenko 6-1 7-6 in the first round of the San Diego Open.

Piri back for Blacks

RUGBY: Piri Weepu will start at scrumhalf for the All Blacks against Australia in the Tri-Nations test in Christchurch this weekend after reclaiming his place from the injured Jimmy Cowan.

"It's good to be back in Christchurch, there's a real Test match buzz in the city and the guys are really looking forward to playing in the rebuilt AMI Stadium," said New Zealand coach Graham Henry.

F1: Ferrari are to go before the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wednesday, September 8, just four days prior to their home Italian Grand Prix the following Sunday, as they look to avoid further punishment over the recent team orders furore.

BASEBALL: MLB RESULTS -- Pittsburgh 0 Cincinnati 4, NY Yankees 6 Toronto 8, Boston 5 Cleveland 6, Tampa Bay 4 Minnesota 2, Atlanta 4 NY Mets 1, Chicago Cubs 1 Milwaukee 18, St Louis 4 Houston 9, Arizona 1 Washington 3, Oakland 6 Kansas City 0, LA Dodgers 5 San Diego 10.