The Norman Transcript

National Sports

July 1, 2013

Five things to know about Tour de France

AJACCIO, Corsica — The Tour de France enters its third stage Monday. Five things to know:

Belgian brains: Belgium’s Jan Bakelants showed he was street smart in winning Sunday’s second stage from Bastia to Ajaccio in Corsica by nestling into a six-rider breakaway late in the stage, and then escaping with just a few miles left before holding off the pack at the finish. The RadioShack rider took the Tour leader’s yellow jersey from Germany’s Marcel Kittel, who lost time as he struggled on the day’s climbs. It was a first professional victory for Bakelants, a 27-year-old university graduate in bioscience engineering. He’d shown promise in 2008 by winning the Tour de l’Avenir — perhaps the world’s premier race for young riders — before turning pro.

Froome’s flair: Chris Froome, a Kenyan-born Briton, toyed with some of his expected rivals to win the three-week race in Paris on July 21. The Sky team leader briefly burst clear of the peloton on the last climb of the 97-mile stage from Bastia to Ajaccio. The tactic was designed to give him an easier downhill ride, but with a hidden message, too: Catch me if you can. Barely two minutes later, the pack caught Froome, but none of his top rivals, including two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador of Spain, went after him. Froome quipped: “It’s always good to keep people on their toes.” A spokesman for Contador shrugged off Froome’s move, saying, “there wasn’t much space to do much” to alter the overall standings. They both finished in the trailing pack behind Bakelants, and trail the Belgian by a second.

Sprinters struggle: Race organizers injected a bit of novelty into this year’s 100th Tour edition by placing a hilly stage so early in the race. Sunday’s trek across the French Mediterranean island featured four mid-grade climbs through sun-baked mountains. The sprinters, including Kittel, all lagged: Mark Cavendish of Britain and Matt Goss of Australia were 17 1/2 minutes behind Bakelants and Germany’s Andre Greipel was nearly 13 minutes back. On Twitter, Cavendish used an expletive to describe his day.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Tour leader Nibali says he’s ‘flag-bearer’ against doping

    CARCASSONNE, France — Barring a disaster for him on French roads from now until Sunday, the man who looks set to win the Tour de France says he understands that cycling is still paying for its longtime doping plague....

    July 22, 2014

  • McIlroy will emerge even stronger than ever

    HOYLAKE, England — The celebration began long before Rory McIlroy had a chance to drink out of the claret jug....

    July 22, 2014

  • Petrino ushers Louisville into ACC

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bobby Petrino turned Louisville into a top-10 team nearly a decade ago. Now, more than two years after a scandal derailed his career, Petrino is back with the Cardinals as they enter the Atlantic Coast Conference....

    July 22, 2014

  • Stewart still riding high

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart heads into the busiest week of his year riding high from a win in his return to sprint car racing. Stewart raced in a sprint car last weekend for the first time since he broke his leg in an extracurricular ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Witness: Sterling must sell to pay debts

    LOS ANGELES — The chief financial officer of Donald Sterling’s properties said Monday that the billionaire may be forced to sell a large portion of his real estate empire to cover $500 million in loans if he persists in refusing to sell ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Mikolas pitches Rangers past sloppy Yankees

    NEW YORK — Miles Mikolas earned his first win as a starter, pitching into the eighth inning Monday night and leading the Texas Rangers to a 4-2 victory over the sloppy New York Yankees. Trailing by a run with none on and two outs in the ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Angels with latest big move before deadline

    Oakland general manager Billy Beane acted boldly, trading top prospect Addison Russell in a deal that brought starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics....

    July 22, 2014

  • Jeter turns small part of attention to business

    NEW YORK — Pedestrians craned their necks as Derek Jeter stood in front of a food truck parked across the street from Central Park....

    July 22, 2014

  • Ortiz homers twice, Red Sox rout Blue Jays

    TORONTO — David Ortiz hit the 452nd and 453rd home runs of his career, moving past Boston great Carl Yastrzemski into 36th place on the all-time list, and the Red Sox won their fifth straight game Monday night, routing the Toronto Blue ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Dodgers edge out Cardinals

    ST. LOUIS — Adrian Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning off St. Louis Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal and the Los Angeles Dodgers salvaged the series finale with a 4-3 victory Sunday night....

    July 21, 2014