Monday 22 January 2018

In brief: Rodriguez takes slender lead


LOCAL favourite Joaquim Rodriguez reclaimed the overall lead in the Tour of Spain after the race's toughest stage yesterday as Nicolas Roche climbed back up to fifth place overall following another impressive day in the mountains.

Rodriguez's compatriot Mikel Nieve won the 16th stage, the third for his Euskaltel-Euskadi squad in this year's tour. Rodriguez powered out of a tiny pack of favourites with less than a kilometre to go to the sundrenched summit of Cotobello at the climax of the 181 km stage in the Asturian mountains, regaining the lead he held for one day earlier in the tour.

Fourth in this stage, the Katusha rider is 33 seconds ahead of Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, with Ezequiel Mosquera of Spain 53 seconds back, signalling a tough contest over the next five days.

Roche finished the stage in eighth place and gained valuable time on some of his rivals to jump back into the top five. Luxembourger Frank Schleck, however, leapfrogged the Irishman into fourth after finishing second yesterday.


Dermott Lennon was yesterday named as the fourth member of the show jumping team for the forthcoming World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, writes Louise Parkes.

The 41-year-old from Banbridge, who won the individual world title at Jerez in 2002, has shown fluctuating form with his top horse Hallmark Elite this season.

But third place in Saturday's Madrid Grand Prix has clinched their spot, and team manager Robert Splaine said that he is delighted to field the full squad that won the prestigious Aachen Nations Cup in July.

Lennon joins Billy Twomey, Denis Lynch and Cian O'Connor. Splaine has yet to name the reserve.


CONOR NILAND has achieved another major landmark by breaking below the 150 barrier in the singles world rankings for the first time.

Niland improved seven places to No 146 after reaching the semi-finals of the St Remy de Provence event last weekend.

Meanwhile, Colin O'Brien yesterday made a confident start in the ITF Futures event in Danderyd, Sweden, the seventh-seeded Dubliner overcoming Swedish qualifier Pierre Bonfre 6-3 6-2.


Three of Ireland's county players have returned to the 14-man squad for the forthcoming trip to Zimbabwe.

Ireland will play an Intercontinental Cup tie against a Zimbabwe XI, followed by three one-day internationals against the full Zimbabwe team.

Niall O'Brien returns after surgery on a finger and captain William Porterfield and Gary Wilson are both released to play in the full tour. Boyd Rankin and Alex Cusack are ruled out through injury.

Irish Independent

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