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Canoeing: Olympic hopefuls on course for place

IRISH Olympic canoe hopefuls Eoin Rheinisch and Ciaran Heurteau are still on course to win one 'nation' place in London after the first day of the European Championships in Augsburg yesterday.

Both made tomorrow's semi-finals after finishing 17th and 23rd respectively after the first two rounds of the K1 slalom.

The top two nations from those countries who have not yet qualified will get one place in London, and Ireland were third on that ranking last night.


The presence of his girlfriend -- former 'Page 3' girl Peta Todd -- with their month-old daughter at the finish in Fano yesterday spurred Mark Cavendish to a second stage victory of this year's Giro D'Italia.

Cavendish was one of a handful of sprinters to survive the undulating final 30km in the peloton -- his Sky team-mates nursed him over the final climbs before leading him out to perfection in the sprint to the line, where he out-galloped the field to finish a bike-length ahead of points leader Matt Goss.

Ramunas Navardauskas held onto his pink jersey for another day, while former leader Taylor Phinney's bad luck continued as he suffered yet another crash.


A badly out-of-sorts Rafa Nadal crashed to his first defeat on clay in 23 matches when he was upset 6-3 3-6 7-5 by Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco in a thrilling third-round match at the Madrid Open yesterday.

Nadal had beaten Verdasco in all 13 of their previous meetings but an error-strewn performance ended his bid for a third straight clay title.


IRISH duo Peter O'Leary and David Burrows continued their excellent pre-Olympic form at the World Championships in Hyeres, France yesterday.

The 'Star' class crew finished 18th to hold on to third place overall ahead of today's final race. They are already one of four Irish boats qualified for London 2012.

James Espey, who clinched Olympic qualifying earlier this week, finished 37th at the Laser World Championships in Germany.