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In brief: Riders to face four ascents

CYCLING: Rested after a day off, the Tour de France riders got back to serious climbing in the 209km ninth stage to St Jean de Maurienne today.

With four classic Tour ascents, climbers will have ample chance to express themselves.

The final section of La Madeleine is steep and demanding, and the 20km descent to the finish could help chasers to rein in breakaways.

While Lance Armstrong's chances of a recovery look bleak, after he lost nearly 12 minutes on the way to Morzine, other Tour contenders will look for a chance to make up for lost time and to reposition themselves. However, riders do not all react in the same way to a rest day and the injuries sustained in the previous stage may hurt even more.



Hamilton wants new device ready

Motor sport: Lewis Hamilton is hoping McLaren solves the problems that blighted the team's British Grand Prix ahead of the next race in Germany.

On Friday evening at Silverstone, the team chose to abandon the big-money upgrade they had rushed to have on their cars for the race.

Hamilton was keen for the exhaust blown diffuser -- a device used by rivals Red Bull -- to remain, but team principal Martin Whitmarsh decided there were too many issues to be resolved. McLaren now have another 10 days to perfect the system prior to Hockenheim.



Ponting's 'last bid' for Lord's century

Cricket: Ricky Ponting launches what is almost certainly his final bid to make a Lord's century, as Australia start their first Test against Pakistan.

Ponting's highest score in three previous Lord's appearances is 42, and the veteran batsman's chances of registering an Ashes century at the ground almost certainly expired last summer when he made two and 38.

But Lord's have established a new honours board for neutral Test matches, which is hung in the away dressing room.



Gilbert fined $100k for scathing letter

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has been fined $100,000 for a scathing letter in which he called LeBron James' decision to play for the Miami Heat "cowardly behaviour".

Gilbert made the comments after the two-times reigning NBA Most Valuable Player said he would leave Cleveland to play with fellow All Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.


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