Allyson Felix, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Prefontaine Classic schedule, broadcast info, preview

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The stars are out for the third Diamond League meet of the season — Allyson FelixShelly-Ann Fraser-PryceAshton Eaton and David Rudisha, among others.

The Prefontaine Classic is the most mouth-watering outdoor meet of 2014 so far, living up to its venue, revered Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Competition starts Friday night, with Olympic and world champion Brittney Reese in the long jump, Mary Cain in the 800m and Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp in the 10,000m. USATF.TV will have live coverage.

NBCSN will have live coverage Saturday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET, followed by NBC from 4:30-6. NBC Sports Live Extra will be available for the entire 3:30-6 window (HERE from 3:30-4:30 and HERE from 4:30-6). The full schedule and entry lists can be found here.

Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

Friday
10 p.m. — Women’s discus
10:03 — Women’s long jump
10:30 — Women’s 800m I
10:50 — Women’s 800m II
11:10 — Men’s shot put
12:17 a.m. (Saturday) — Men’s 10,000m

Saturday
3:22 p.m. — Men’s triple jump
3:25 — Men’s pole vault
3:33 — Men’s mile
3:44 — Women’s two mile
3:59 — Women’s high jump
4:03 — Women’s 400m hurdles
4:11 — Women’s 3000m steeplechase
4:25 — Men’s 400m
4:34 — Men’s 100m
4:38 — Men’s javelin
4:42 — Women’s 400m
4:49 — Women’s 1500m
5:05 — Men’s 110m hurdles
5:13 — Women’s 200m
5:20 — Men’s 5000m
5:41 — Men’s 800m
5:49 — Bowerman Mile

Here are five track events to watch Saturday:

Men’s 100m

No Usain Bolt or Yohan Blake, but all seven men in the field have a personal best of 10.0 or better. The favorite is Justin Gatlin, who owns the fastest time of the year at 9.87. His top competition should be France’s Jimmy Vicaut, the second fastest man this year (9.95), and Jamaica’s Nesta Carter, who was second to Gatlin at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai on May 18.

Women’s 1500m

Ethiopian-born Swede Abeba Aregawi has owned this event the last year, winning all six Diamond League races she entered in 2013, then the World Championship and then the World Indoor Championship.

American Jenny Simpson, the 2011 world champion and 2013 world silver medalist, will try to break Aregawi’s streak. As will Kenyan Hellen Obiri, who set a meet record in winning in Eugene last year (it wasn’t a Diamond Race event in 2013).

Men’s 110m hurdles

Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton will try his hand against all six hurdles medalists from the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships, including world-record holder Aries Merritt and world champion David Oliver.

Eaton has been running the 400m hurdles this season, dabbling outside the decathlon in a non-outdoor World Championships year. His personal best in the 110m hurdles, 13.35 from the 2011 Pre Classic, would have placed fourth in the London Games final.

Women’s 200m

Bill this as Allyson Felix vs. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Olympic champion vs. world champion. Remember, Felix collapsed to the track with a torn hamstring in this race at the World Championships on Aug. 16. Fraser-Pryce, in a neighboring lane, went on to win gold.

Fraser-Pryce has said she’s focusing on the 200m in 2014, while Felix is putting greater emphasis on the 400m. Both have pulled out of meets so far this year, reportedly due to injuries, giving hope to reigning U.S. champion Kimberlyn Duncan and world silver and bronze medalists Murielle Ahoure and Blessing Okagbare.

Men’s 800m

Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha will race for the first time in more than one year. The field is worthy of his return, including world champion Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia, Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos of Botswana and American Duane Solomon, the fastest man in the world this year seeking to break the American 800m record.

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Simone Biles, her name sparkling, extends 6-year win streak

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Simone Biles has long stood out for her gymnastics, but on Saturday she competed with her last name sparkling in silver beads on her World Champions Centre leotard for the first time. The gym’s other athletes had “WCC” on the back.

Biles lived up to the billing, extending her six-year win streak to 19 straight all-arounds, capturing the U.S. Classic, a tune-up for next month’s U.S. Championships.

Biles, the four-time Rio Olympic champion, scored 60 points in Louisville at the meet where she made her comeback last year after nearly two years off from competition. She prevailed by a comfortable 2.1 points over Riley McCusker, her largest margin of victory of her four U.S. Classic titles.

“I’m very satisfied,” she said on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. “I’m a little sad that I went out of bounds on floor [exercise], but overall I feel like there are improvements to be made.”

Full results are here.

Biles is prepping for nationals in Kansas City in three weeks, when she eyes a sixth U.S. all-around title to tie Clara Schroth Lomady‘s record from the AAU era in the 1940s and ’50s.

Then come the world championships in October in Stuttgart, Germany. Biles could win a fifth all-around to move one shy of Kohei Uchimura‘s record.

The world’s other top gymnasts may be her countrywomen.

Biles was outscored on balance beam on Saturday by 2018 World teammates Kara Eaker and McCusker and beaten on uneven bars by 2017 World all-around champion Morgan HurdSunisa Lee, Grace McCallum and McCusker. Biles swept all the gold medals at last year’s nationals.

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Geraint Thomas struggles; Julian Alaphilippe ups Tour de France lead

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LA MONGIE, France (AP) — When the team of Geraint Thomas was in its pomp at the Tour de France, a time trial followed by a big mountain stage would have been playgrounds for Sky — now in new colors as Ineos — to take cycling’s greatest race by the scruff of the neck and leave everyone else fighting for second place.

Not this year.

Thomas, the defending champion, cracked on Saturday on the Tour’s first encounter with a climb to above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), exposing unprecedented weaknesses in his team that has won six Tours in the past seven years.

The time trial on Friday and the climb up to the legendary Tourmalet pass on Saturday seemed primed for Thomas to reel in Julian Alaphilippe, the yellow jersey-holder from France who is setting the Tour alight with his punchy riding and determination to keep the race lead, filling French fans’ heads with dreams of a first homegrown winner since 1985.

TOUR DE FRANCE: TV Schedule | Full Standings

But instead, Thomas has seen Alaphilippe only get further and further away. In two days, the Frenchman has put 50 seconds of extra daylight between him and the Welshman. His lead — up to 2 minutes, 2 seconds — is becoming large enough to start realistically envisioning Alaphilippe in yellow in Paris next weekend as the first French winner since Bernard Hinault.

Fueling the ecstasy of delirious crowds that lined Saturday’s steep uphill finish, French rider Thibaut Pinot won Stage 14, putting him back in the picture to fight for the podium after he lost mountains of time on Stage 10.

Thomas rightly pointed out that the Tour is far from done, with six more ascents to above 2,000 meters still to come.

But his inability to stay with Pinot, Alaphilippe and other title contenders at the top of the Tourmalet — he was eighth, 36 seconds behind Pinot — was a mini-earthquake for the Tour dominated by his British team since 2012 — with champions Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and, in 2018, Thomas.

“Not the best day. I just didn’t feel quite on it from the start. I was quite weak,” Thomas said.

“At the end I knew I just had to pace it. I didn’t really attempt to follow when they kicked. I just thought I should ride my own pace rather than follow them and blow up on the steepest bit at the end. It’s disappointing. I just tried to limit the damage.”

Having taken cycling to a new level since 2012 with its vast budget and attention to the minutest of details, the team run by David Brailsford has been hit both by misfortune and by the inevitability that, eventually, other teams would start to close the gap.

A horror crash in training for four-time winner Froome, now recovering from career-threatening broken bones, robbed the team of its ace. Thomas’ own preparations were hampered by a crash at the Tour of Switzerland last month.

And Egan Bernal, being groomed by Brailsford to succeed Froome and Thomas, looks increasingly unable to compete for the title this year. Bernal was fifth on the Tourmalet and is fourth overall, 3 minutes behind Alaphilippe.

Pinot, now sixth overall and 3:12 behind Alaphilippe, is showing remarkable grit in bouncing back from his Stage 10 misfortune, when he was part of a group that got separated from other title contenders in crosswinds.

“I have this rage inside me, because in my opinion it was an injustice,” said Pinot, a podium finisher in 2014.

“Since the start of the Tour I had this stage in the back of my mind. The Tourmalet, it’s mythical,” said Pinot, who has three career stage wins at the Tour.

French President Emmanuel Macron, on hand at the top of the Tourmalet to see Pinot win and Alaphilippe extend his lead, gushed about the “two fantastic riders.”

“They attack and they have heart,” Macron said.

Watch world-class cycling events throughout the year with the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass, including all 21 stages of the Tour de France live & commercial-free, plus access to renowned races like La Vuelta, Paris-Roubaix, the UCI World Championships and many more.

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