Geraint Thomas is well placed after stage two Great Britain’s Geraint Thomas moved up the general classification on stage two of Bayern Rundfahrt as South Africa’s Daryl Impey claimed victory.
A mountainous second day of action in Bavaria saw the general classification receive a shake-up.
Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) moved into the race lead by claiming victory in a reduced sprint into Viechtach ahead of Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) in second and Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida) in third.
Thomas (Team Sky) earlier claimed three valuable seconds at the late intermediate sprint to put himself in the mix.
Kicking off in the town square in M hldorf, the 194.5km stage saw a frantic opening as wave upon wave of attackers tried to fire clear off the front.
After 40km, a group of nine riders were able to head up the road, quickly taking two minutes, before the gap eventually spun out to 4min 20sec.
As rain started to fall, the advantage was quickly slashed and a number of riders, including overnight race leader Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Sharp) fell into difficulties.
Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale) proved to be the strongest in the break and hit out solo, but on the final of four significant ascents, the Frenchman was reeled in as a group of around 60 riders headed into Viechtach.
Snow is a regular fixture when the Giro ascends the Stelvio but this year’s conditions have been deemed unsafe Friday’s 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia has been heavily amended due to heavy snow and severe cold weather in the Dolomites.
The day had been due to take in the category-one Gavia and Stelvio passes on a 139km route starting in Ponte di Legno and ending with a summit finish on Val Martello.
However, both climbs have had to be skipped because of sub-zero temperatures and walls of snow at the roadsides making conditions unsafe for riders.
Confirming the route change on Twitter, the race organisers said the decision had been taken in light of “the bad conditions of the weather and to preserve the safety of the riders”.
The new, 160km route will still finish with the category-one climb to Val Martello, but will now head east out of Ponte di Legno and tackle the category-two Passo del Tonale, before ascending the category-one Passo Castrin.
It will then loop back around to join up with the original final 23km of the stage.
Catalan Dragons welcome back Australian playmaker Scott Dureau for the first time this season when they tackle the London Broncos at the Magic Weekend in Manchester.
The former Newcastle Knights half-back has missed the whole of the 2013 season after undergoing successful surgery to remove a tumour from behind his eye following a routine test last September.
Lopini Paea, Frederic Vaccari, Julian Bousquet are all fit to play although Brent Webb, Olivier Elima and Jason Baitieri will play no part on Saturday.
The Dragons have an excellent record against the Londoners winning their last six meetings.
The Broncos’ last success over the French club came at Millennium Magic in Cardiff in 2011 when they were known as Harlequins.
Mike Bishay, Mike McMeeken and Jamie O’Callaghan all come into Tony Rea’s 19-man squad with Erjon Dollapi, Alex Hurst and Will Lovell all miss out.
Suspended Antonio Kaufusi misses the game following his two match suspension for a Grade C reckless strike during the Broncos cup win over Bradford earlier this month although he will be available to face Castleford on June 1.
Tony Clubb returned to full training this week but will not be risked against the Dragons.
Will Lovell, Tommy Lee and Chad Randall are all being assessed following recent injuries.
Youngster Bishay will make his Super League debut if selected and is eager to feature, stating: “It will be brilliant if I make my debut, it’ll be such a good experience.
“I’ve been training for the last year and a half full-time but it’s been worth the wait, I’ve just got to wait for my chance to come and hopefully take it with both hands.” Catalan Dragons : Pryce, Taia, Bosc, Dureau, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Anderson, Mounis, Pelissier, Larroyer, Millard, Simon, Bousquet, Fakir, Paea, Duport, Vaccari, Escare.
London Broncos : Bailey, Bishay, Bryant, Cook, Dixon, Dorn, Fisher, Gower, Grady, Howell, Krasniqi, McMeeken, Mendeika, O’Callaghan, Robertson, Rodney, Sarginson, Wheeldon, Witt.
Hearts could start next sesaon with a 15-point deduction Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Hearts director Sergejus Fedotovas admits he is still unsure what the implications will be for the club should majority shareholder UBIG officially confirm its “indication” of insolvency.
Fedotovas is still speaking to lawyers to determine the position of the investment firm and the club but he believes there will be some clarity from Lithuania within 30 days.
UBIG, which owns 79 per cent of Hearts, was last week named on a Lithuanian government list of firms which are unable to meet their financial obligations but the club escaped instant relegation when the Scottish Premier League ruled that did not constitute an insolvency event in its rules.
But Hearts could start next season with a 15-point deduction if UBIG’s insolvency is confirmed in court and the SPL decides such a move falls foul of its financial fair play rules.
Speaking after the club’s annual general meeting, Fedotovas told Hearts TV: “The news about UBIG was very much unexpected, something we didn’t anticipate.
“To be frank we are still trying to find out what the reality is behind it and how this will impact on Hearts.
“Pretty much we know the company has declared it’s in a position where it may not be able to meet its obligations and pay the bills.
But as I understand from the Lithuanian legal background, it is something it has time to consider.
“The company has around 30 days to revoke that or take it further to the stage where it will be filing for bankruptcy or insolvency.
“It will be decided by the court whether the company will go into insolvency or not.”
Romain Grosjean: A messy end to an otherwise positive day Sky Bet Formula 1 Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Formula 1 Betting 10 Free Bet Romain Grosjean has shrugged off the crash which curtailed his Practice Two running in Monaco and expressed confidence that Lotus are in good shape to be in the front-running mix this weekend.
The Frenchman, despite a few scruffy moments in the weekend’s opening track session, appeared to quickly pick up the speed around the tortuous streets as he finished the morning with the third-fastest time.
However, his afternoon session lasted a mere ten laps after the 27-year-old blotted his copybook when he damaged the front of his E21 against the barriers at St Devote.
But despite the apparent setback, Grosjean was nonetheless in high spirits when he spoke to reporters after the session given that, up until his crash, he had been happy with the handling of his Lotus.
“It the crash’s not a big deal,” he insisted.
“It’s a bit of a shame we lose some time of practice, but the car is there, the balance is there.
“I went in and it locked when I was already into the corner so unfortunately nothing I could really do.
“The team is doing a great job, first on the set-up and also repairing the car, and the beers will be on me Sunday night!” And while Mercedes appeared to underline their status as favourites for pole position on Saturday – and even potentially the race victory – with an impressive one-two in afternoon practice, Grosjean suggested the weekend was poised for a multi-team battle for supremacy.
Asked about Thursday pacesetter Nico Rosberg’s eye-catching 1:14.759 P2 lap, the Frenchman responded: “It’s not bad.
I think it’s going to be tight: Fernando Alonso is quick, both Mercedes’ are and I think we are.
So it’s going to be a good battle.” Grosjean added that the fact his team-mate Raikkonen had shown a decent laptime improvement on the supersoft tyre – something his crash meant he personally has yet to sample – was further reason for encouragement for Lotus.
“On Kimi’s car he had a good gain on the tyre which shows we have a good gain with them.
I was surprised that Fernando was not quicker with the supersoft so I think we should have been there with Rosberg,” he suggested.
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Bastian Schweinsteiger: Aiming for a perfect performance in the final Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is aiming to treat Wembley to footballing perfection in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Bayern can complete part two of a possible Treble with victory and go into the clash with Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund as clear favourites.
Jupp Heynckes’ side finished 25 points ahead of Dortmund in winning the league title and have the DFB-Pokal final to come at the start of June.
“We’ve taken a massive stride towards perfection, and we’re aiming for a perfect performance in the final,” Schweinsteiger said.
“For me, the decisive factor will be everyone working hard and running for the others when we don’t have the ball.
“If we play to our potential, it’s very hard for anyone to win against us.”
Frankie Dettori: Visited French authorities Frankie Dettori still hopes to be able to ride at next week’s Investec Derby meeting after making some progress towards having his licence reinstated.
The 42-year-old rider had planned to be back in action this week after serving a six-month ban handed out by France Galop after he tested positive for cocaine at Longchamp last September.
However, a “private matter” between Dettori and the Medical Committee of France Galop has so far prevented the French regulator from clearing the jockey to return, with the British Horseracing Authority reciprocating that stance.
Dettori has been in France for the last two days trying to iron out the problem with France Galop and his solicitor Christopher Stewart-Moore believes progress has been made.
He told Press Association Sport: “The latest position is that Frankie Dettori has been in France for the last two days at France Galop.
“The matter has moved forward and we are expecting a positive result.
“We are hopeful that the glitch has been ironed out so that he can get his English licence in time to ride in the Derby.” BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey confirmed they are still awaiting the relevant information from France Galop and there has been no change in the position of racing’s rulers.
Alastair Cook: England captain challenges his batsmen England captain Alastair Cook admits his batsmen have an added incentive to do well in the second Test against New Zealand which starts at Headingley on Friday.
Kevin Pietersen is expected to return for the series against Australia later this summer and this will be the last chance the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Nick Compton and Joe Root will get to impress in the five-day format before the Ashes.
“I think we all know when hopefully Kevin comes back and he’s fit, his record and his class pretty much demands that he plays for England,” said Cook.
“His record allows him to do that.
So of course that creates competition for places and the guys in the changing room will be desperate to score runs.
That’s good for us in this game because we need as many runs as we can.
“If any batter scores runs it’s very hard to leave him out.
That’s how selection works.
“I don’t think it will give them any extra motivation because I don’t think you need any extra motivation when you’re playing for England…but we all know that’s the situation.” Cook was also able to offer a brief update on Pietersen as he continues his recovery from a troublesome knee injury.
He added: “Kevin’s progressing well from his injury.
There is obviously some more information coming over the next couple of weeks but chatting to him last week at Lord’s he sounded positive, and it’s fingers crossed.
“With injuries you’re not quite sure how they’re healing but it sounded as if he was making good progress.”
Alan Pardew: endured an agonising finale to the Premier League season Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Manager Alan Pardew has received the backing of the Newcastle board despite a miserable showing in the Premier League.
The Magpies survived the drop by the skin of their teeth, finishing 16th – only two places above the relegation zone – which came on the back of their impressive fifth spot 12 months before.
There had been some reports Pardew was set for the axe but the 51-year-old has been reassured after talks with owner Mike Ashley and managing director Derek Llambias on Wednesday.
Llambias said: “There has been a great deal of speculation in recent weeks but our desire, as we announced back in September, is to bring long-term stability to this club.
“It’s up to us all now to work closely as a team to ensure next season sees us competing in the top half of the table again.
Everyone connected with the club was disappointed to finish where we did last season, particularly on the back of such a fantastic year prior to that.
“Our discussions on Wednesday were very constructive and we pinpointed a number of factors that contributed to a season which fell below expectations.
“We are now looking forward and are entirely focused on the forthcoming campaign, with the expectation of at least a top-10 finish in the Premier League.
“We would all like to thank the fans for their continued support and assure them we remain committed to providing affordable football at St James’ Park.” Pardew was handed an eight-year contract in September last year.
Roman Weidenfeller: Looking to draw upon spirit of 1997 Sky Bet Football Betting Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds Football Betting 10 Free Bet Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller has called on his side to go down in history like the 1997 team by upsetting the odds to win the Champions League.
Dortmund are the underdogs for Saturday’s meeting with Bayern Munich at Wembley, just as they were when Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side beat defending champions Juventus 3-1 to win the title 16 years ago.
The 32-year-old, dubbed the ‘best non-international goalkeeper’ by the German media, said in an interview with Kicker magazine: “Everyone still speaks today with unbelievable admiration about the ’97 team.
“Should we now also succeed in lifting the trophy in London, we would probably achieve a similar status.
“Champions League winners – that would be the best for the club and for us.” Weidenfeller, who was in brilliant form in the semi-final second leg against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, is expected to be in for a busy night at Wembley but claims he is ready for anything Bayern throw at him.
“We have extensive video material,” he added.
“And moreover we know Bayern.
No matter what happens in the final, nothing can surprise us.” Dortmund will be without their Bayern-bound playmaker Mario Gotze through injury, but Weidenfeller knows the team can cope without him.
“It goes without saying that with him we have a different quality,” he said.
“(But) everything shouldn’t rest on him.
In the DFB-Pokal final in 2012 Mario also didn’t play.” On that occasion, Dortmund ran out 5-2 winners against Bayern with the help of a Robert Lewandowski hat-trick.