Monday 20 November 2017

In brief: Contador off to poor start

cycling: Triple champion Alberto Contador made a dreadful start to the Tour de France yesterday, while Belgian Philippe Gilbert won the opening stage.

Contador lost one minute 21 seconds to some of the other race favourites after being held up by a crash towards the end of the 191.5km stage in the Vendee region.

It was the first stage win on the Tour for the world No 1 and the first time he had taken the overall leader's yellow jersey.

Gilbert pipped the last two world road champions -- second-placed Australian Cadel Evans and Norway's Thor Hushovd who was third.

Nine kilometres from the finish line an Astana rider crashed into a spectator on the roadside, halting more than half of the main pack including Contador. Nicolas Roche finished in 19th place.


golf: England's Mark Foster shot a three-under-par 68 to share a one-stroke lead with compatriot James Morrison after the third round at the French Open.

Foster made up for two bogeys with five birdies for a nine-under total of 204.

Overnight leader Morrison had a two-shot lead on the back nine but a double bogey on the penultimate hole and a bogey on the last saw him close with a one-over 72.

Gareth Maybin is the best of the Irish on 214 after a third-round 72. Peter Lawrie also shot a 72 to lie two strokes further back while Paul McGinley and Michael Hoey disappointed with third rounds of 77 and 79 respectively.


Sweden's Caroline Hedwall claimed her second Ladies European Tour title in five weeks as she secured a two-stroke victory at the Finnair Masters in Helsinki.

The 22-year-old shot a final round three-under-par 68 for a total of 202. Rebecca Codd hit four birdies and three bogeys in a final round 70 to finish on three over.


camogie: Kilkenny struck three goals in the final quarter to secure a 4-8 to 0-12 victory over Tipperary in the All-Ireland Senior Championship.

Tipp led by a point at the break but Aoife Neary hand-passed to the net for the winners soon after the resumption. Kilkenny plundered those three quick goals from the outstanding Michelle Quilty, Áine Fahy and Shelly Farrell to put the tie to bed.

Buoyed by defeating Tipperary last week, Clare led 0-5 to 0-2 after a quarter of an hour against Wexford, but the champions struck for goals from Evelyn Quigley and Ursula Jacob to turn the game in their favour for a 3-11 to 0-10 victory.

It was easy for Cork against Dublin, with Joanne Casey (two), Denise Cronin and Katrina Mackey finding the net in a 4-17 to 0-4 win.


ATHLETICS: Paul Hession remained upbeat about the season ahead, and more especially the World Championships later in the summer, despite defeat in yesterday's 200 metres at the Cork City Sports.

"Today was about the competition and testing yourself and seeing what you might need to get stronger and faster for Daegu," said Hession. He was speaking after losing a hectic home-stretch battle to the Panamian Alonso Edward in a wind-spoiled 20.85.

Earlier, Hession also lost out in the 100m where Britain's Luke Fagan proved stronger too, winning narrowly in 10.56 by one-hundredth of a second.

Another Daegu-bound Irish star, Olive Loughnane, came home to win a second successive 3,000m walk in a time of 12:52. Robert Heffernan was forced to withdraw from the men's event but has indicated that he will be ready for the World Championships.

David McNeil from Australia sprinted away to win the 3,000m in 7:58.55 with Sean Connolly the best of the Irish in seventh place in 8:16.46.


Irish elite triathlete Gavin Noble secured the Irish Sprint Championship title at the Waterways Ireland TriAthlone yesterday.

Noble finished in 58mins 29secs, comprising a swim of 0:09:11, a bike ride of 0:29:26 and a run of 0:17:54. Noble dominated from the start, leading fellow Irishmen Bryan Keane, Owen Cummins, Conor Murphy and Russell White.


TENNIS: Georgian Lazare Kukhalashvilli yesterday advanced to the final of the Irish Close Championships at the Donnybrook Club.

Kukhalashvilli edged Greystones' Ciaran Fitzgerald 6-3 3-6 6-3 to clinch a showdown against Mark Carpenter. Carpenter was pushed to three sets by Robert Dudley, but ran out a 6-7 (4/7) 6-2 6-1 winner.

Meanwhile, Ireland's James McGee powered his way to his second ITF Men's Futures final in a month. McGee had a 3-6 7-6 (7/1) 7-6 (7-5) win over Russia's No 4 seed Ivan Nedelko.


cricket: The second Test between India and the West Indies is drifting towards a draw in Bridgetown after the hosts fought back after lunch in the face of an attacking India side.

The tourists had made a surprising declaration midway through the morning session, ending their innings on 269 for six, a lead of 280.after losing Adrian Barath for 27 early in the second session, the hosts were able to shore up their innings thanks to Darren Bravo and the watchful Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Bravo reached tea on 45 while the unadventurous Chanderpaul faced 83 balls for 12 runs, as his side sought to avoid going 2-0 down in the series.


hockey: Ireland got off to a winning 3-2 start in their opening match of the Champions Challenge in Lille. Ireland opened the scoring in the 16th minute following a good run from John Jackson in which he side-stepped three players to lay off for Alan Giles to score.

Geoff McCabe got his first international goal to send the Irish into a 2-0 at the break. A Conor Harte's drag flick from a penalty corner made it 3-0 before Scotland staged a late comeback with the second of their goals just two minutes from time.


BOWLS: Richard Leonard, of St James' Gate Bowling Club, caused a shock last Friday when he became the first Irishman from outside the North to win the Senior Men's title at the British Isles Bowls Council Championships.

The Dubliner defeated England's Steve Mitchinson 21-16 in the final.

It was his first appearance in the senior event, which took place at the Sighthill Bowling Club in Edinburgh.

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