Marcel Kittel wins Tour de France Stage 6, tightens sprint standings (video)

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German Marcel Kittel won a bunched sprint finish for the second time in the first six stages of the Tour de France on Thursday.

Kittel edged France’s Arnaud Demare and German Andre Greipel as all crossed in 5 hours, 5 minutes, 34 seconds in Troyes. It’s Kittel’s 11th career Tour stage win.

There were no significant changes in the overall standings. Chris Froome, a three-time Tour champ, still leads by 12 seconds over teammate Geraint Thomas.

Demare, the Stage 4 winner, kept his lead over Kittel in the green-jersey standings, thanks in part to points from an intermediate sprint earlier in Thursday’s stage.

Kittel cut Demare’s standings lead from 40 to 27 points.

Nobody left in the field has captured a sprint classification title with five-time winner Peter Sagan thrown out of the Tour for making contact with 2011 winner Mark Cavendish on Tuesday. Cavendish crashed and broke a shoulder blade, forcing his abandon from the Tour.

An appeal by Sagan’s team to the Court of Arbitration for Sport was rejected Thursday.

TOUR: Results/Standings | Highlights | Broadcast Schedule

Overall Standings
1. Chris Froome (GBR) — 23:44:33
2. Geraint Thomas (GBR) — +:12
3. Fabio Aru (ITA) — +:14
4. Dan Martin (IRL) — +:25
5. Richie Porte (AUS) — +:39
7. Romain Bardet (FRA) — +:47
8. Alberto Contador (ESP) — +:52
9. Nairo Quintana (COL) — +:54

Friday’s Stage 7 is a flat, 134-mile trip from Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges in eastern France. It should feature another bunched sprint to the finish ahead of a summit finish Saturday.

NBC Sports Gold coverage starts at 6 a.m. ET. NBCSN’s coverage starts at 7:30 a.m.

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MORE: 10 Tour de France riders to watch

Marcel Kittel

Green Bay Packers pull another Olympic sport TD celebration

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We’re halfway to a decathlon of Olympic sport touchdown celebrations over the last two seasons.

After the hurdles, the long jump, the bobsled and the relay came the race walk on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, once part of a three-man bobsled team, led three other teammates in a race walk after scoring in Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. (Adams later left the game with a concussion.)

Adams won the race walk, which was much, much shorter than the standard Olympic distances of 20km and 50km, over teammates Jordy NelsonRandall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

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Canada in control of hockey rivalry going into Olympics

AP
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Four years ago, the U.S. women’s hockey team rode a four-game winning streak over rival Canada into the Olympics, then lost both games in Sochi, including a gut-wrenching overtime final.

This time, Canada goes into the Winter Games having won four straight.

The Canadians beat the Americans 2-1 in overtime in Edmonton on Sunday night, taking their pre-Olympic series 5-3 overall.

“I don’t think it was our best performance,” Canada coach Laura Schuler said. “There’s still more work to do.”

The Canadians were led by their stalwarts — captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored in regulation, Sochi gold medalist Jennifer Wakefield scored 26 seconds into overtime and longtime goalie Shannon Szabados stopped 34 of 35 shots.

Hilary Knight netted the U.S. goal, with Maddie Rooney making 24 saves.

“The goal for us is to be hitting on all cylinders in February,” U.S. coach Robb Stauber said.

The U.S. appeared to be in that kind of form until about two weeks ago.

Before this losing streak, the U.S. had a 12-4 record against Canada since the start of 2015, including taking the last three world championship finals.

At one point, the U.S. won six straight games over a 12-month stretch, its longest streak over Canada since it famously won eight straight going into the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics then lost the gold-medal game.

Canada also beat the U.S. in their last four meetings before the 2006 Olympics and five straight going into the 2010 Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic team will be announced Jan. 1. The national-team roster is at 25 players (22 skaters, three goalies), but the Olympic roster is 23 (20 skaters, three goalies).

“Can’t live in the past, can’t live in the future, so tonight we were worried about this game,” U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said, according to the Canadian Press. “We weren’t looking ahead to February.”

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