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Rodriguez still ‘calm’ in Vuelta

CYCLING: Tour of Spain leader Joaquim Rodriguez says the prospect of beating Alberto Contador seems so far-fetched it is helping him stay calm.

RODRIGUEZ, racing for the Katusha team, leads the Vuelta by 28 seconds from Spanish compatriot Contador.

But Contador has failed to shake Rodriguez despite persistent attacks on the mountains, and only five days’ racing remain before the tour finishes in Madrid on September 9.

“If I’m honest, if I seem so calm it’s because I keep on expecting Contador to beat me,” Rodriguez told reporters in his team’s hotel during the rest day yesterday. “Beating him would be something spectacular.”

Ahead of the Vuelta resuming with a hilly 187.3-kilometre ride from Santander to the summit finish of Fuente De today, Ireland’s Nicolas Roche said: “We’re straight back into the mountains tomorrow, with a summit finish atop the 18km second category ascent of Fuente De after two previous climbs.

“It’s going to be a case of fastening my seatbelt, gritting my teeth and hanging on for dear life.”

Ireland T20s draw on ‘Billy the Kid’

CRICKET: The Ireland squad flew off to the World T20 tournament in Sri Lanka yesterday, boasting an impressive new addition to their touring party in Australian fast bowling great Craig McDermott.

The Queensland veteran, nicknamed ‘Billy the Kid’ during his playing days of 71 Tests in the 1980s and ’90s, has been appointed as specialist bowling coach and consultant to Ireland and will work with the players prior to and throughout the tournament.

Grosjean replaced with D’Ambrosio

MOTOR RACING: Lotus have confirmed reserve driver Jerome D’Ambrosio will replace the banned Romain Grosjean for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

Grosjean was punished severely for sparking a four car pile-up at the start of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix that also took out the Ferrari of championship leader Fernando Alonso, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Sauber of Sergio Perez.

MLB: Tampa Bay 5 NY Yankees 2, Detroit 2 Cleveland 3, Washington 11 Chicago Cubs 5, Pittsburgh 6 Houston 2, Toronto 0 Baltimore 12,

Atlanta 0 Colorado 6, Miami 4 Milwaukee 8, Cincinnati 2 Philadelphia 1, Chicago White Sox 9 Minnesota 18, Kansas City 6 Texas 3, St Louis 5 NY Mets 1, Oakland 1 LA Angels 6, Seattle 3 Boston 4.