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Ventoso plots path to victory

A crash with 150m to go on stage nine of the Giro d'Italia gave Spanish sprinter Francesco Ventoso an easy route to stage victory in Frosinone yesterday.

As Aussie Matt Goss led the peloton wide into the final bend, Italian Filippo Pozzato hit the brakes behind him, causing most of the top sprinters to fall.

Ventoso took the inside line and avoided the carnage for a clear run at the finish.

Race leader Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Barracuda) also avoided the crash to finish seventh on the stage, and leads the race by nine seconds.

At the opening stage of the Tour of California yesterday, Ireland's Philip Deignan finished in the front group of 50 riders, but Nicolas Roche crashed heavily just outside the final 3km. The race commissaires decided to give all riders involved in the incident the same time.


Olympic hopefuls Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan shone again on Day 2 of the 470 World Championships in Barcelona.

The pair scored 11, 9 and 10 in the three races. The 94 boats in the championship will have two more races tomorrow before they split the fleet. This event is the last opportunity to qualify for London 2012.

In Cornwall another Irish sailor, Ross Hamilton, is also competing at Day 2 of his Olympic qualification. Hamilton is sailing in the Finn class and lies 53rd.


Rafa Nadal's chances of winning an open-era record seventh French Open title next month will not be affected by his fall to No 3 in the world rankings, the Spaniard said yesterday.

His third-round defeat last week in Madrid meant he was overtaken by tournament winner Roger Federer, with Novak Djokovic still No 1.

"Being No 2 or No 3 isn't going to change my goal," Nadal said at the Foro Italico, the long-time home of the Rome Masters, which began on Sunday. Nadal could regain second spot from Federer this week.

Irish Independent