Wednesday 21 February 2018

Cycling: Blistering Cancellara takes glory

RadioShack team rider Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland is kissed on the podium of the 97th Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) Classic cycling race in Oudenaarde
RadioShack team rider Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland is kissed on the podium of the 97th Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) Classic cycling race in Oudenaarde

One year after smashing his collarbone in the same race, Fabian Cancellara stormed to a second victory at the Tour of Flanders when he soloed to the line in Oudenarde, almost a minute and a half clear of nearest rivals Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto).

With his Radioshack squad keeping him out of trouble near the front, Cancellara bided his time early in the race as several large groups went clear before the big Swiss single-handedly reeled the last of them in with an initial attack on the penultimate cobbled climb of the race, the Oude Kwaremont, with around 20km to go.

Despite a determined chase by Sagan and Roelandts, Cancellarra simply went into time trial mode, hitting 50kph in the finale of the 256km race and putting over a kilometre between himself and the chasers by the finish.

"It's amazing," said a delighted Cancellara. "One year ago I was on the ground and now I've won Flanders on the new course. To win as the big favourite is not easy. From the beginning we had to work hard and had to take over early in the race."

Elsewhere, Mullingar firefighter Damien Shaw reclaimed the yellow jersey of race leader at the four-day Ras Mumhan as Planet Tri's Paidi O'Brien out-sprinted a five-man lead group to take stage three into Waterville.

Murray on rise after gritty Miami success


Andy Murray moved to No 2 in the world after launching a comeback to defeat David Ferrer in the Sony Open final in Miami.

The Scot battled past Ferrer 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-1) to leapfrog Roger Federer in the rankings. "It was such a tough match, it could have gone either way," Murray said.

In the women's competition, Serena Williams lifted her sixth title after bouncing back to see off Maria Sharapova in the decider.

The world No 1 was edged out in a tight first set but lost just three games thereafter as she stormed to a 4-6 6-3 6-0 victory and her 11th straight win over Sharapova.

The American has passed Steffi Graf's number of titles in this competition.

Crosbie shows class with double


Shane Crosbie battled to two wins at Whiteriver Park, near Collon, in the finals of the Rotax Max races at Irish Karting Club's race meeting.

In the first final, he took the chequered flag 0.3 seconds ahead of Jack Lyons, and in race two, the gap was just one-tenth of a second over Darragh Cormack. Other doubles went to William Harron, Danny Hyland and Joe Crowley.

On home ground, Enda Haran beat Joseph Smith from Cavan in Connacht MC's Autocross, with just under a second separating them after three hotly contested runs.

At Brands Hatch, 16-year-old Keith Donegan from Navan finished second in the opening Ginetta Junior race but had to retire from his second race.

Lynch pulls out stops

to take runner-up


Denis Lynch collected €130,000 for runner-up spot in the super-competitive 5-Star Grand Prix at the new state-of-the-art Al Shaqab stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Lynch was flawless with Thomas Straumann's 10-year-old stallion All Star, which broke the beam in 43.34 seconds, but Dutchman Gerco Schroder and his stallion London were almost three seconds quicker, snatching victory and the €214,500 winner's purse.

Cameron Hanley returned to the winner's enclosure at Arezzo in Italy. The Mayo man broke his leg in a freak accident two years ago, but he has battled back to fitness and topped Saturday's 1.35m line-up with Player de Quesnoy.

Gallant Irish

fall short in

Euro quest


THE Republic of Ireland U-17 team exited the UEFA Championships after being held to a 1-1 draw by Serbia in their final Group 2 match at WFV Hirschstetten, Vienna.

Austria – who Ireland beat on opening day – ended up topping the group as a result of a 2-1 win over Georgia.

Tom Mohan's side went ahead through a Jack Byrne penalty in the 50th minute after Dean O'Halloran was fouled in the penalty area by Srdjan Babic, who was dismissed in the same incident.

However, the 10-man Serbs levelled through Nemanja Radonjic's overhead kick just five minutes later.

Although the Irish pressed hard for a winner – which would have been enough to secure a place in the finals in Slovakia – it just would not come for Mohan's men.

Ireland had dominated the first half but failed to break the deadlock until Byrne's spot-kick. Byrne could have snatched the winner in the last minute but his shot was deflected just wide with the 'keeper beaten.

Byrne, wingers O'Halloran and Jake Mulraney all impressed for Ireland, while Bobby Moseley had a fantastic game in defence.

IRELAND – Harry Doherty, Ryan Rainey, Bobby Moseley, Robin Dempsey, Daniel Cleary, Dean O'Halloran, Cody Mulhall, Jake Mulraney, Connor Dimaio, Eoghan Stokes (Reece Grego-Cox 54), Jack Byrne.

SERBIA – Ostojic, Brajovic, Gajic, Stevanovic, Babic, Radonjic, Pantic, Belic, Zivkovic, Ilicic (Mihajlovic 71), Lukic.

REF – M Ferreira (POR)

Irish Independent

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