Friday 15 December 2017

Sport in brief: Ras chief unveils 'toughest' course

A gruelling test of stamina is in store for competitors in this year's FBD Insurance Ras, which gets under way in Dunboyne on Sunday, writes Tommy Campbell.

Organiser Dermot Dignam, in his last year at the helm, announced the course yesterday, which will be one of the toughest in many years.

"This will be eight days of seriously tough cycling and when the winner is crowned in Skerries he will be a worthy champion," said Dignam.

Already interest in the Ras is phenomenal and Dignam admits that he will have trouble facilitating those cyclists who want to compete.

"I have had request from over 20 countries wishing to enter competitors but I have only so much money available and it goes with the job to get the best teams possible."

Meanwhile, Manuel Cardoso took a shock win in the third stage of the 2010 Tour Down Under in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The Footon Servetto-Fuji rider battled through searing temperatures to win the 132.5km stage from Unley to Stirling, coming out on top of a bunch sprint uphill. Andre Greipel of HTC-Columbia holds the leader's jersey going into the fourth stage, from Norwood to Goolwa.

Tennis

IRELAND'S James McGee has crashed out to Britain's Josh Goodall on the British ITF Circuit, writes paddy hickey.

The unseeded 22-year-old Dubliner yesterday succumbed 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 3-6 to No 4 seed Goodall in the second round in Sheffield.

McGee also suffered disappointment in the doubles after he had partnered Dutch player Bart Van Monsjou to a 6-4 5-7 10-7 (champions' tie-break) win over the Netherlands' Matwe Middelkoop and Belgium's Niels Desein in the quarter-finals.

Later in the semi-finals, unseeded McGee and Van Monsjou were edged by top seeds, Andis Juska of Latvia and France's Olivier Charroin, on a 6-1 3-6 10-6 (champions' tie-break) scoreline.

In the ITF U-18 boys' doubles final in Traralgon, Australia, Ireland's Sam Barry and New Zealand's Ben McLachlan suffered a 6-3 6-2 defeat by Australia's James Duckworth and Benjamin Mitchell.

Rallying

NORTHERN IRELAND'S Kris Meeke felt there was "nothing he could do" as the Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion crashed out on the second day of the Monte Carlo Rally.

Black ice was blamed for the 100mph crash which ended his hopes in a race now led by Finland's Mikko Hirvonen who is 47 seconds ahead of Finnish compatriot Juho Hanninen.

"I came up to the corner and I'd all my big braking done and then I saw everyone's brake marks in front of me so I thought everyone was going in way deeper than me," said Meeke. "So I came off the brakes a bit, got to the corner and went off on the slushy black ice. I was five miles per hour too fast and there was nothing I could do. It was as if it happened in slow motion."

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