French breakaway rider takes Tour de France stage

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STATION DES ROUSSES, France (AP) — Speeding away on a small mountain road more suited to goats than riders, Lilian Calmejane won Stage 8 to the Rousses ski station in the Jura Massif on Saturday, for his first victory in his first Tour de France.

Calmejane, riding for French team Direct Energie, fought cramp after breaking away on the final climb and hung on, tongue lolling, for victory in only the second visit by the Tour to the Rousses. It was the second win at this Tour for a French rider, after Arnaud Demare’s on Stage 4.

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Tour leader Chris Froome finished in a group further back, retaining the yellow jersey ahead of a second, far harder day of climbing, again in the Jura mountains, on Sunday.

Froome’s day wasn’t without incident: On a downhill, right-hand bend after the second of three notable climbs on the stage from Dole, the three-time Tour champion went straight into the roadside grass instead of cornering, but managed to stay on his bike and quickly recover.

Calmejane held off Dutch rider Robert Gesink, hot on his heels, on the final climb and rolling finish. Cramping from his effort, Calmejane had to slow and rise off his saddle to stretch his legs in the final section and then gritted his teeth to the line.

Gesink, of the Netherlands’ Lotto-Jumbo team, rode in 37 seconds after Calmejane. French rider Guillaume Martin placed third on the stage, another 13 seconds back.

“Winning alone like that is incredible,” said Calmejane, who also won a stage at his first Grand Tour, the Spanish Vuelta, last year. “It’s everything I dreamed of.”

Sunday’s Stage 9 stays in the mountains with nearly 5,000 meters of climbing, including three beyond-category climbs, the toughest on the Tour. The general classification is sure to be shaken.

NBC Sports Gold coverage starts at 5:40 a.m. ET. NBCSN coverage starts at 6:30 a.m.

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MORE: 10 Tour de France riders to watch

Yuzuru Hanyu to miss Japan Figure Skating Championships

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world figure skating champion, will miss his national championships this week after suffering ankle and knee injuries this fall, according to Japanese media citing the Japan Skating Federation.

Hanyu can (and very likely will) be named to Japan’s three-man Olympic team despite missing nationals.

Hanyu has reportedly been off the ice for more than one month since a Nov. 9 practice fall.

“It is an important selection competition, and the Olympics are a big goal, so with that in mind we would like to think things through together,” Japan Skating Federation director Yoshiko Kobayashi said last week, according to Kyodo News.

Hanyu, who turned 23 on Dec. 7, fell on a quadruple Lutz attempted and then favored his right ankle in a Nov. 9 practice at a Grand Prix event (video here).

He skated the run-through for his free skate, although he elected not to do any more jumps.

“I have been told by the doctor that I need 10 days of complete rest,” Hanyu said in a statement on Nov. 12, according to Kyodo. “Following that, it will take three to four weeks to return and get back to where I was.”

Hanyu and world silver medalist Shoma Uno are favored to lead Japan’s Olympic men’s figure skating team. The third spot is likely to go to Takahito Mura or Keiji Tanaka.

Hanyu competed twice this season.

He posted a world-record short program score in his debut at a small September event in Canada, but struggled to fifth place in the free skate and finished second overall behind two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

He then finished second to U.S. champion Nathan Chen at the first Grand Prix event of the season in Moscow in October.

Chen is the only undefeated male singles skater this season.

Hanyu won four straight national titles before missing last season’s event with the flu.

He was still named to Japan’s team for worlds, where he won his second title in four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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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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