By Julien PretotChris Froome crossed the Champs Elysees finish line arm in arm with his beaming team mates on Sunday to win the 100th Tour de France and hand Britain a second successive triumph in cycling’s biggest race.In three weeks of racing, the Kenyan-born rider dominated in the mountains and time trials and fought off the inevitable innuendo that has long accompanied an event tainted by a string of doping scandals.Froome was untroubled on the 21st and final stage, a 133.5-km ride from Versailles which ended in an evening sprint giving German Marcel Kittel his fourth stage win as the sun set on Paris.The Briton led Colombia’s Nairo Quintana by four minutes and 20 seconds in the overall standings, with Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez third, a further 44 seconds back.“This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time,” Froome said in his podium speech, in a reference to the many doping scandals the sport has struggled with.Froome is the first Tour champion to be crowned since Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles for doping and some of the 28-year-old’s performances in the 2013 race were inevitably greeted with suspicion.“I’m glad I’ve had to face those questions – after all the revelations of the last year. I’m glad that’s been channelled towards me,” Froome told ITV television.“I’ve been able to deal with it. Cycling has changed – the peloton is standing together.”Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford, anticipating the scepticism around the Tour in the wake of the Armstrong scandal, said: “When you think about the future of cycling, you see that it is in good hands with Chris.“He is an outstanding man. I have no doubt on his victory. We are in a transition period with all these young riders who have not lived the doping era.”Froome follows on from compatriot and team mate Bradley Wiggins, who sat out of this year’s race for health reasons.He built his success on awe-inspiring attacks in the mountain climbs as well as his time-trialing ability. It quickly became clear that his rivals would have to fight for the other podium positions.“Crossing the line with the guys brought tears to my eyes. I expected it to be big but this is something else,” Froome said.“I think it is going to take a while to really sink in. This has been a spectacular race.”“What a great team,” Australian Richie Porte, Froome’s lieutenant, told reporters. “The Tour is always special, we saw it last year with Brad. It was probably harder this year, it’s incredible.”In keeping with Tour tradition, Froome sipped champagne with Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford and sports director Nicolas Portal as the peloton left the Chateau de Versailles in the late afternoon at a leisurely pace.Quintana claimed both the polka-dot best climber’s jersey and the white jersey for the best young rider.Rodriguez, who lit a cigar shortly after the start, became the second rider to finish on the podium on all the grand Tours (France, Spain, Italy) without actually winning one.Alberto Contador, the 2007 and 2009 champion, finished fourth after cracking on Saturday’s penultimate stage.The Spaniard, however, had his moment on the podium on the Champs Elysees as he won the team classification with Saxo-Tinkoff.France’s Christophe Riblon, who won the spectacular l’Alpe d’Huez mountain stage, was named the most aggressive rider in the race.Peter Sagan of Slovakia, retained the green jersey for the points classification and had dyed his hair and goatee beard to match it.Kittel came out on top in a three-way sprint finish to the line, edging ahead of compatriot Andre Greipel and Britain’sMark Cavendish who was looking for his fifth straight final-stage win.“Once again thanks to my team mates, it’s a collective effort,” said Kittel.Cavendish conceded he was beaten by a stronger rider.“Kittel was faster. I did 1,500 watts and usually when I do 1,500 watts I win by a few bike lengths,” he said.Lieuwe Westra became the first rider to abandon the Tour on the Champs Elysees since 1977.
VfL Wolfsburg reached the Champions League last 16 and dealt a knockout blow to Manchester United with a 3-2 victory on Tuesday that secured top spot in Group B and condemned their opponents to the Europa League.United had taken an early lead in Germany when Anthony Martial expertly sidefooted home after 10 minutes, but Brazilian centre back Naldo drew the Germans level with a precise volley and Portuguese midfielder Vieirinha swept home to make it 2-1.United were set to reach the next round when an own goal by Josuha Guilavogui levelled the scores at 2-2 with eight minutes left but Naldo grabbed his second and left the visitors needing PSV Eindhoven to lose at home to CSKA to reach the next round.For a brief moment late in the second half it looked like United would get their wish, but PSV rallied to level and then snatch a 2-1 win that left them second in the standings on 10 points, two ahead of United and two behind Wolfsburg.Other scoresManchester City 4Borussia 2PSG 2Shakhtar Donetsk 0Real Madrid 8Malmo 0PSV 2CSKA Moscow 1Benfica 1Atletico Madrid 2Galatasaray 1Astana 1Sevilla 1Juventus 0
Zinedine Zidane had few equals as a player but heading into his first Champions League final as a coach, he admits that unlike Atletico Madrid counterpart Diego Simeone he still has much to learn.The former France playmaker, who was promoted from Real’s reserve team to replace Rafa Benitez in January, steered the side to a runners-up finish in La Liga and Saturday’s final in Milan.Real have won 21 out of 26 games under Zidane and lost two, scoring 71 goals and giving away 18.Simeone led Atletico to their second Champions League final in three years.“He has everything that a coach needs but above all, he knows his team and his players well, which is the most important thing,” Zidane told a news conference on Tuesday.“I have a lot to learn but my enthusiasm to learn is tremendous. This will make me improve. I still have a long journey to be an important coach.”Saturday cannot come soon enough for Zidane, who could become the seventh man to win the European Cup as a player and a coach.His spectacular volley in the final in Glasgow in 2002 gave Real their ninth European title and they claimed a record 10th crown in 2014.“I’m excited and happy,” the 43-year-old said. “I am looking forward to the final, to take advantage of this opportunity.“I know how lucky I am to have the chance to be in a final with this club.”Zidane was assistant to Real coach Carlo Ancelotti when Los Blancos beat Atletico 4-1 in extra time in the final two years ago today.“When it comes to finals, I only know what it feels like as a player and as an assistant,” he said. “I will experience it now as coach with calmness, determination and patience.”Zidane played five seasons for Real and knew when he took over in January he knew exactly what was expected of him.“The pressure is always there,” he said. “It’s part of the work and I like it. I have been a player and I had pressure but I have more as a coach. Failure would be not to give our all.”Real failed to beat Atletico in La Liga this season, losing 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 at the Vicente Calderon stadium,“It’s going to be a difficult match,” Zidane said. “I don’t think holding possession will be good enough. Atletico are a complete team.”
Wales reached the Euro 2016 quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Northern Ireland thanks to an own goal by Gareth McAuley in a poor encounter at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.Centre back McAuley turned a Gareth Bale cross into his own net 15 minutes from time in the all British last-16 clash.The Irish had their best chance in the first half when Stuart Dallas’s fierce strike was parried away by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.Wales will play Belgium or Hungary, who meet on Sunday, for a place in the semi-finals next Friday in Lille.
Winning the toss, Barras captain Jack Vare this time decided to bat first.Openers Lega Siaka (40) and Vani Vagi Morea (44) put on a solid opening partnership of 84 runs before both were dismissed by the same bowler, Sean Nottle.Assad Vala (38) and Sese Bau (21) also chipped in with valuable runs.But it was veteran Mahuru Dai who top scored with 51 runs. Dai smashed 9 fours.The Barras were all bowled out for 286 runs after 49.3 overs.Eastern Edge started off well in their run chase with openers Michael Cranmer (55) and Timothy Evans (29) getting things going.More good batting brought Eastern Edge to 5/169 with the game in the balance.The Barras turned the game right around, taking the next 4 wickets for just 29 runs.But Eastern Edge tailenders Jake Haberfield Sean Nottle fought back with a 53 run stand.Barras’ John Reva ended all hopes of a win for Eastern Edg, taking the wicket of Nottle in the 49th over to leave Eastern Edge all out for 257.Dai was the Barras’ best bowler, taking 2/29 off his 10 overs.
Olympiakos Piraeus clinched their seventh consecutive Greek league title and 44th in total after enjoying a comfortable 5-0 home win over struggling PAS Giannina in their penultimate match of the Super League season on Sunday.Goals from Marko Marin, Manuel Da Costa, two from Alberto de la Bella and an Alejandro Dominguez late penalty saw Olympiakos romp home easily against a depleted PAS Giannina team lacking six first-team regulars through suspension or injury.The three-point haul means the Piraeus club now have an unassailable six-point lead with one match to go.“It has been a strange season but in the end we’re the champions and that’s what matters,” Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis told reporters.The title is Lemonis’s fifth in his third spell at the helm after the 57-year-old former Olympiakos player was brought in on a short-term contract until the end of the season following the sacking of Portuguese Paulo Bento.Lemonis said the lack of stability and constant changing of coaches had been difficult for the players.“I am the fifth different technician and this is a big problem, especially for the team. I have had little time with them but if I managed to change something maybe it was the atmosphere in the dressing room and we managed to hold on to the title — now we have to try and win the Greek Cup as well.”Despite a late-season dip in form which saw PAOK and Panionios threaten to catch Olympiakos, the Piraeus giants still managed to hold on after having built up a significant lead thanks to their imperious form during the first two-thirds of the campaign.The home side went into the game at the Georgios Karaiskakis needing just a single point to wrap up another title but in the end an eight-minute goal blitz in the first half settled any nerves, with the strikes from Marin (21), Da Costa (24) and De la Bella (29) coming during a period of total dominance from the hosts.De la Bella (71) and Domingeuz (82) from the penalty spot put the icing on the cake with two further goals much to the delight of the jubilant home fans.There could yet be a late twist in the tale of the title race, however, as Olympiakos face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday which could see them get a six-point deduction following trouble at the end of their Greek Cup semi-final first-leg loss against AEK Athens 11 days ago.
England manager Gareth Southgate was candid about where his team is in football’s pecking order after an unconvincing 1-0 win over Slovenia sent them into the World Cup finals on Thursday.Until skipper Harry Kane struck in the fourth minute of stoppage time there was every chance England’s confirmation of a place at the Russian showpiece next year would have been greeted with boos from a frustrated Wembley Stadium crowd.A young England team again lacked guile — a common criticism throughout a qualifying campaign that has been comfortable without ever stirring any real optimism.Yet Southgate, who took over from Sam Allardyce after one game in Group F and has sealed top spot with a game to spare, said the only thing that mattered, for now, was that England had completed their first task of making it to Russia.“Tonight highlighted where we are,” he told reporters. “Was it the performance or the night we wanted? No, absolutely not.“I think people want to come and see goals and be entertained. It’s blindingly obvious we could have played better. You know what you would like and what is realistic.“Are we are going to become Spain in the next eight months? No we’re not. They have a squad full of players who have won Champions Leagues and league titles. We haven’t got players who have proved themselves on that stage.“But now they have a chance to play on that stage at the World Cup. That was why it was imperative we got there.”EXCITING TALENTIn the likes of Kane, with 11 goals in 22 internationals, Manchester United’s young striker Marcus Rashford and Kane’s Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Dele Alli, who was suspended on Thursday, England do have exciting talent in their ranks.There are other hopeful signs of an England resurgence in the younger age groups, but Southgate said patience was needed.“They are young players and are giving everything for the shirt and they will improve in the next few years,” he said.“They are suffering the consequences of 25, 30 or 40 years (of failure in major tournaments) and that’s not their fault,” he added, with England having disappointed since their only major tournament win at the 1966 World Cup on home soil.“In certain areas maybe there are young players who won’t be ready. My desire and ideal way of playing and what we need to do over the next year are maybe two different things.”While the quality of the performances has left a lot to be desired, England have developed a knack of scoring late goals throughout the qualifying campaign — namely a last-ditch winner away to Slovakia, a late Kane equaliser in Scotland and now the England captain’s last-gap intervention at Wembley.“We are having to find ways to win by being a bit more savvy because things are not flowing,” said Southgate. “But we have got goalscorers. We are a side that scores late goals not concede them, which is becoming a bit of a theme.”While the England manager can look forward to a World Cup next year his Slovenia counterpart Srecko Katanec said after the match that he would stand down as national team coach with their World Cup qualification hopes in tatters.
The clash between leaders AEK and fifth-placed Apollon is by far the most important fixture this weekend in Round 11 of the Cyprus football championship. Second-placed Anorthosis have a seemingly east home game against Olympiakos while the two Nicosia big guns Apoel and Omonia have tricky ties against Pafos FC and last but one Aris respectively.AEK coach Imanol Idiakez heaped praise on the Limassol side saying that they are quality team, proving this not only in the domestic championship but also in the Europa League.He remained confident though that his team has what it takes to take the three points and inflict a first defeat of the season on Apollon.For yet another time he stressed the importance of a packed ground and urged the fans to turn up in numbers as they did against Apoel.Ivan Triscovski is back in the reckoning for a place in the starting eleven and should Idiakez decide to start the game with the Macedonian striker then he will almost certainly revert to a back three.Apollon come into the game at the back of an impressive win over Doxa last weekend and a commendable home draw against Italian side Atalanta in the Europa League on Thursday.Apollon coach Sofronis Avgousti is fortunate enough to have a quality squad and may decide to rest players that featured in the Europa League despite the importance of the game. He did this against the Italians where his two regular strikers, Anton Maglica and Andre Skembri were named as substitutes.However Zander Santana, Apollon’s towering left-back, is expected to be restored to the side after missing out on the last couple of games through injury.Anorthosis will be favourites to take the three points against Olympiakos but they will need to improve in the final third of the field especially against a team that plays with a packed defence and tries to surprise their opponents on the break.The Famagusta team will be without their Ivorian striker Sekou Cisse while captain Joao Victor and the charismatic Rubens Rayo both face a race against time to be fit for the clash.Olympiakos were dealt a massive blow when their Cypriot striker Chrysovalantis Kapartis was ruled out until the end of the year with a broken arm but their manager Chrysis Michael has a way of getting the best out of his players and will make Anorthosis work hard for the three points.Apoel will be hoping to put their league woes behind them and kick-start their season with a win over third placed Pafos FC in their first home game of the season in front of their own fans.Apoel’s injury list has shortened to just four, with Lorenzo Embecilio, Tomas Oar and Facundo Bertoglio back in the reckoning after a lengthy period on the sidelines.Pafos’ young Slovenian coach Luca Elsner is confident that his side can cause another upset, this time against the champions, even though he may be without his influential midfielder Herold Goulon. Pafos have raised a few eyebrows with their performances this season as they sit proudly in third place with AEL.AEL have lacked consistency so far this season but they should prove too strong for first division newcomers Alki in Limassol.Saturday: Anorthosis vs Olympiakos (5.00), Doxa vs Ethnikos (6.00), Aris vs Omonia (7.00)Sunday: Salamina vs Ermis & Apoel vs Pafos FC (4.00) AEL vs Alki (5.00), AEK vs Apollon (6.00)
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has signed a new contract with the club, extending his tenure by two years to 2024, the Premier League side said on Friday.The 24-year-old England captain was previously on a six-year contract signed in 2016.Kane finished the 2017 calendar year as the top goalscorer in European football with 56 goals for club and country. He finished the most recent Premier League season with 30 strikes to his name.Kane is preparing to lead England at the World Cup in Russia beginning on June 14.