Thursday 18 January 2018

Roche remains in hunt for honours

cycling tennis motorsport

Nicolas Roche was in contention again yesterday in the group of sprinters vying for victory in the second stage of the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland, but he had to settle for ninth place at the stage end in Frieburg after 171 km.

Roche remains 16 seconds adrift of race leader Peter Sagan and is currently in 11th place in the standings.

But the big talking point was Mark Cavendish's offensive gesture aimed at his media critics, before acknowledging the crowd as he crossed the line in victory. Cavendish has been out of sorts this season with only one victory to his credit.

Elsewhere, Belfast's David McCann kept up the pace in the third stage of the five-day Jelajah Malaysia yesterday. He remains on top of the leaderboard despite finishing in 27th place and his overnight cushion of 20 seconds on Takumi Beppu is unchanged, with the remainder of the competitors at a deficit of a minute plus.

South African Malcolm Lange won the bunch sprint into Auto City. McCann should retain the jersey on the short hop of 93km today.

Andy Murray's frustrating season continued as he slumped to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat by David Ferrer at the Rome Masters.

The world No 5 produced some superb play but his Spanish opponent was sharper, especially on the vital points with Murray's lack of tennis evident as he made a number of unforced errors.

Holder Rafael Nadal provided more evidence that he is regaining his old dominance on clay after an injury-hit 2009 by cruising past Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-2.

The Spaniard displayed superb movement and unleashed a string of stunning forehand winners to earn himself a last-eight meeting with Stanislas Wawrinka.

World No 2 Novak Djokovic progressed with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Thomaz Bellucci that was harder than the score suggested.

Meanwhile, Ireland's Julia Moriarty was yesterday forced to retire with a shoulder injury in the ITF Women's Circuit event in Ipswich, Australia. Moriart was 1-6 and 0-2 down against the No 2 seed, Lauren Albanese of the US.

Dubliners James Cluskey and Colin O'Brien advanced to the semi-finals of the doubles in the ITF Men's Futures event in Bournemouth with a 7-5, 6-3 win over British duo Richard Gabb and Ashley Hewitt. Barry King and Briton Marcus Willis, the No 2 seeds, were edged by French duo Adrien Puget and Gleb Sakharov.

Andretti Autosport have signed 2009 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport champion Adam Carroll to drive a limited schedule of IZOD IndyCar Series events in the second half of the 2010 season.

Carroll, a native of Portadown, captured five wins, six poles and eight podiums in seven rounds on his way to winning the 2008-2009 A1GP World title for Team Ireland.

Irish Independent

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